Encouraging kids to take probiotics (and to eat prebiotic foods) can make a critical difference when it comes to keeping their immune systems strong and establishing a foundation of health for years to come.
Probiotics help build and restore the beneficial gut bacteria that may have been depleted (or never established) by factors like stress, poor diet, the overuse of antibiotics, over-sanitizing or other elements such as environmental toxins or even mode of delivery.
You see, children inherit their gut bacteria directly from mom at birth. With a huge majority of the immune system residing within the GI tract, flooding their little systems with good bacteria can make an overwhelmingly positive impact on the general wellness they experience throughout the course of life.
Avoid Chewables, Liquids and Powders
The trouble is that many probiotics designed for kids on the market are only available in chewables, liquids or powders – and the acid that naturally resides in the human stomach is so fierce that these types of probiotics, because they have no protection, can barely survive, much less allow the good bacteria to colonize and pave the way toward optimal health. This means it’s helpful to encourage kids to take an ingestible (a pill swallowed whole) to ensure that they’re actually getting the health benefits (and that you aren't wasting your hard-earned dollars on supplements that do very little for your child). But if your kids are anything like mine, they can be especially picky about what they eat. So, getting them to take an ingestible probiotic, or any ingestible for that matter, can be extremely difficult.
Here are a few of our best tips to help your child love and embrace their probiotic regimen:
Make it a Habit. It’s amazing how much our children grasp when we carve out special moments and new traditions in the daily family routine. You might try picking a time during the day when you can take 5-10 minutes with your child (or children) to talk about what we do to stay healthy, like washing hands, exercising, eating a our fruits and veggies, and taking our daily vitamins and supplements. You can also talk about what happens when we take our probiotics - the topic of digestion might seem a little high-level for most young children, but the subject of “poo” seems to help get many younger kids get chatting about probiotics and digestive health.
This can actually be a really fun experience and strengthen your family bond – plus your kids might actually look forward to spending time together! Talking about health early on can get your kids excited about taking steps toward a healthier life.
Start Small. Find the smallest possible probiotic to help ease your child’s mind. Children tend to eat with their eyes, so seeing a huge pill can be very intimidating. Some probiotic pearls on the market are effortlessly small (designed for even older preschool-aged children to swallow). You can even cut them in half to encourage them to swallow it whole.
This is great practice for learning to take ingestibles later in life. But if trying to get your head-strong kindergartener to swallow a pill whole sounds like a daunting - aka impossible - task, don’t worry. Certain probiotics for kids can be broken up and are still effective when chewed, so that your child still gets the health benefits.
No luck? Get Sneaky. So, despite your best efforts, your kids are not into taking any sort of probiotic. They want nothing to do with being healthy and have zero interest in coming near even the tiniest of tablets. If this is you, fear not! You can still get sneaky. Some tablets are small enough to place on the end of a spoon with some cereal or applesauce, so I’d recommend starting there. Breaking up a probiotic tablet into smaller pieces is an option – and you can add it to practically anything.We love adding these good guys to yogurt, granola with coconut milk, or other cold snacks. Simply press apart your probiotics using the back of a spoon into smaller pieces, mix into a cold snack and and - voila! Probiotic-enriched goodies that help you skip the drama and keep the peace where it counts.
Regardless of how they take them, probiotics are a trending topic for good reason. Gut flora are implicated in so many aspects of our normal bodily function, and a balanced microbiome can translate to healthier days that give you more time to do the things that you enjoy as a family.
At Hyperbiotics, we designed our PRO-Kids formula based on what we’d want for our own children. It was important to us to make a sugar-free product with zero additives to help our little ones stay on a natural path to great health. Our kids formula is an ultra-tiny pearl made with the top 4 probiotic strains to help give growing systems the support they need in an easy-to-swallow format.
PRO-Kids surpasses the effectiveness of other children’s probiotics on the market because of the powerful, patented delivery method we use called BIO-Tract. This innovative, time-release technology works by creating gel-like shield around the tablet (or tablet pieces) when it’s swallowed, protecting it from stomach acids as it moves through the GI tract so the good flora are released right where they’re needed. It’s an excellent choice when selecting a potent and effective probiotic for kids.
Helping our kids discover healthy habits now can empower them to make smart choices and prioritize health for the rest of their lives, and probiotics are one of the best places to start.
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
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