A Guide to Vitamins for Kids
Are you wondering what vitamins your child needs, or if they need vitamins at all? Check out this guide from Centrum® for helpful information on vitamins for kids. After you understand the different types of children’s vitamins and what purpose they serve, finding the right option for your child can be an easy task.
Supporting Your Family’s Health
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps in the production of DNA, the genetic material in cells.
When it comes to your loved ones, health is a top priority. There is a lot of information you might come across online, or maybe even through conversations with friends, about the best steps to take to support your family’s health. Sometimes, there is so much information that it can feel overwhelming. But before you begin to worry, know that there are a few basic measures you can take to help support your children’s health. Prior to choosing vitamins for your child, here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you’re caring for your child’s health:
Eat balanced, nutritious meals and snacks with your child. A healthy diet can help provide a solid foundation as far as your child’s health goes and helps ensure they get the crucial vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and develop. Fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy nuts: aim to include a variety of wholesome foods in your child’s diet.
Helping your child get enough sleep each night is a good way to promote their health. Sleep can have a direct impact on your child’s physical and mental development, so making sure your child gets adequate sleep is important.i Experts recommend 11-13 hours a night for preschoolers (3-5 years) and 9-11 hours a night for school-aged children (6-13) years.ii Sleep habits for babies and toddlers can vary, so consult your doctor if you’re concerned your little one isn’t getting enough sleep.
Teach your child proper hygiene tips, such as how to wash their hands properly, to help support their health. The CDC advises that families practice handwashing together; handwashing helps prevent the spread of germs to keep your family healthy.iii Show your child how to wash their hands correctly, and give frequent reminders to do so. Explain how and why viruses spread, and give your child tips on how to protect themselves.
Does Your Child Need Vitamins?
Now that we’ve talked about a few ways to support your child’s health, let’s explore the topic of vitamins and multivitamins for kids. Many parents wonder whether vitamin supplements for kids are necessary. To help answer that question for your child, it helps to understand which vitamins most children need. There are a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help your child during their developmental years. This summarized list from Stanford Children’s Health provides an overview of a few essential nutrients:iv
- Vitamin A: Important for skin health, vision, and tissue repair
- Vitamin B: Helps red blood cell production and assists in metabolic activities
- Vitamin C: Plays a role in immune function and helps strengthen tissue, muscles, and skin
- Vitamin D and Calcium: help the body form and maintain strong teeth and bones
- Iron: contributes to blood production and helps the building of muscles.
So, does your child need to take a vitamin supplement or a multivitamin to get most important vitamins and nutrients? According to Mayo Clinic, the answer: no, not necessarily.v Foods can be an excellent source of nutrients, so by eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, healthy children can get most of the nutrients they need. However, there are exceptions. After all, as many parents know, kids can be picky eaters. If your child tends to opt out of eating vegetables at the dinner table, they may miss out on the nutritional benefits of those veggies. In addition, some nutrients can be tricky to get through diet alone—such as vitamin D—which is why you’ll find breads and cereals in the grocery store fortified with nutrients. Here are a few other cases where a multivitamin for your child may be helpful:vi
- Your child has food allergies or food intolerances.
- Your child follows a restrictive diet.
How to Choose a Vitamin Supplement or Multivitamin for Your Child
Are you considering supplementing your child’s diet with a vitamin? Here is how to choose a vitamin that suits your child’s nutritional needs:
Step 1) Talk to your child’s doctor. While you probably have a good idea of your child’s nutritional needs, advice from a medical expert is crucial to making sure you understand the health risks and benefits.
Step 2) Decide between multivitamins versus other dietary supplements. Multivitamins contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, and sometime other ingredients as well.vii If your child is only inadequate in one vitamin or nutrient, a one-ingredient dietary supplement (such as a vitamin D supplement, for example) might be a better choice.
Step 3) Explore different types of vitamins. Chewable tablets, gummies, pills, and more—vitamins come in a variety of formats depending on your (and your child’s) preference. If your child is fairly young, they might enjoy taking a vitamin in a fun flavor, like grape or cherry. Many multivitamins for kids also come in fun shapes and themes, such as dinosaur-themed or cartoon-themed.
Step 4) Make taking vitamins part of your child’s regular routine. After thoroughly reviewing the safety and dosage instructions, set up a schedule by which your child takes their vitamins. Consistency is key, so maybe choose one time of the day (such as morning, when your child is eating breakfast) to take the vitamin, so that neither you nor your child forgets to take it. Make sure to store vitamins in the bottle they come in out of reach of your child.
Thanks for reading our guide on vitamins for kids. Learn more about dietary supplements for your family today.
i. Children & Sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/children-and-sleep.
iii. Handwashing: A Family Activity. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/handwashing-family.html.
iv. Kids Need Their Nutrients. Stanford Children’s Health. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=kids-need-their-nutrients--1-19820.
v. Multivitamins: Do young children need them? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310.
vii. Multivitamin/mineral Supplement. CDC. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-Consumer/.