If you are what you eat, then that’s especially true for children. Every day, your kids are breaking their food down into essential vitamins, mineral and nutrients to build their fast-growing bodies.
Food is the best way for children to get hold of the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy growth. With a wide variety of fresh food from all five groups – fruit, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy – your child will be well prepared for the challenges of early life.
But sometimes children don’t get all the nutrients they need. Fussy eating is common in early childhood, along with food allergies, and both can mean that certain foods are avoided altogether, resulting in recommended daily intakes of some nutrients not being met.
In these cases, parents may consider dietary supplements to help address any shortfalls and support their children’s nutritional intake.
Stage by stage
Let’s take a look at the common reasons for supplementation at various stages of childhood:
- Infant & Baby: 0-1 year
Generally, it’s recommended that babies should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months. Breast milk is designed to give a baby all the nutrients it needs, so supplementation isn’t required unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.
- Toddler: 1-3 years
At this age, many toddlers develop fussy eating behaviours, and convincing them to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods can be a struggle. Kids starting daycare are exposed to new foods which they might be hesitant to try.
- Kinder & Prep: 4-5 years
Fussy eating habits can continue up to the age of 5. Some children may also have developed dietary intolerances which, along with fussy eating, can contribute to avoiding certain foods and as such not having an adequate intake of certain nutrients (e.g. iron from red meat, omega-3 from fish, calcium from dairy).
- School Age: 6-12 years
At this age, children need good nutrition to support periods of rapid growth. School brings greater energy needs, and those growing brains and bodies need to be active and alert for the entire school day.
Choosing the right supplement format
Pentavite supplements come in a wide range of formats. Whatever age your children, there’s an easy way to support their nutritional needs and general health and wellbeing.
- Liquids: Best suited for ages 0-3 years
Liquids are the best fit for the first years of your baby’s life. They can be quickly dosed by a parent straight into the mouth, or mixed into bottled milk or formula, with no danger of choking. Bear in mind that some vitamins and minerals (iron for instance) have a strong taste, so finding a flavoured supplement your child enjoys may take a little trial and error.
- Powder: Best suited for ages 3-5
Powder supplements are easy to disguise in food or drink – great for fussy eaters or younger children who struggle to chew a tablet. At times it may be tricky to ensure your child consumes the entirety of the required dose, a tip here is to make sure to add the powder to a well-liked food, or give your child a straw so they drink the glass to the bottom.
Try our powder range: Multivitamin + Iron Kids Powder
- Gummies: Best suited for ages 4-6 years
Gummies are an easy sell to fussy eaters – they’re a familiar format that kids can consume easily. However, gummies can sometimes get their sweetness and bright colours from artificial ingredients so look for products with no added artificial, colours, flavours or sweeteners.
Bear in mind that due to the way gummies are manufactured, they can’t always cover as wide a range of nutritional supplements as other formats, so chewables may be a more suitable option for older, less fussy eaters.
- Chewables: Best suited for ages 6-12 years
Chewable tablets are great for kids as they get older and become more confident taking vitamins. They generally offer a more comprehensive formulation than gummies, as the format allows them to be packed full of a wide range of nutrients, but their chalky texture means they’re suited to more developed palates.
The recommended ages above are merely a guideline. Most of the above formats can be consumed by children aged 2-12 years, so feel free to experiment. Remember, what works for one child may not work for another. With a little trial and error, you’ll soon find a format to suit your own child’s age and tastes.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamins and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.