Ask a doctor if a child should take a vitamin, and he or she will tell you that anybody eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t need one. Now ask yourself, what child eats a balanced diet all the time? Because many children have unpredictable diets, adding a daily multivitamin can ensure they get all the supplements they need to stay healthy and grow stronger. If you are unsure this is a good idea, discuss the topic with your doctor, and insist on an answer that is more complete than just making sure he eats healthily. While this is good advice, it may not always be realistic, so you need to know how to act when your child’s eating habits leave much to be desired.
While a multivitamin is not a substitute for good food, it can provide missing nutrients. According to experts, iron is one of the most commonly missed nutrient is kids’ diets. It is also one of the easiest to obtain, since it is present in everything from meats to enriched grains to fortified cereals. If you child has uneven eating habits and you have a reason to suspect iron deficiency, consult with your doctor. Iron can cause constipation and should be administered with guidance from your pediatrician.
Except for iron, a multivitamin should include all basic vitamins needed for growth, healthy development of bones and cartilages, brain activity, and energy expenditure. This includes Vitamins A, C, D, and the B complex. Some experts argue that the B vitamins are likely not missing from a child’s diet, since they are present in breads and cereals, which most children tend to eat with no problem.
When choosing a multivitamin, make sure you select one that is appropriate for your child’s age. Some vitamins, including E and K, can be toxic if consumed in high doses. The same is true of trace elements such as zinc and chromium, which are needed in very small amounts and should not be supplemented through a multivitamin unless specifically directed by a doctor. If your child is a picky eater, choose a flavored multivitamin, or one shaped like a favorite cartoon character. And always make taking a multivitamin a normal thing by taking one at the same time than your child or giving one as a reward for something done right.