What Vitamins Are Good for Kids: A Parent's Guide
  /   Dr. John Snow

What Vitamins Are Good for Kids: A Parent's Guide

If you’re a parent, then you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the infinite amount of advice out there on how you should raise your child. With so much contradictory information out there, it can be really hard to decide what’s actually best. This unfortunate reality leaves many parents feeling totally stressed out and constantly scouring the internet for the latest findings. One thing that you might have heard a lot about are vitamins for kids. You probably have questions like: Are vitamins good for kids? Should my kid be taking vitamins? Which vitamins are the best for kids? The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours doing your own research because we are here to help! Here’s a quick but complete guide on what every parent should know about vitamins for kids:

Are Vitamins Good for Kids?

The first and probably most important question about vitamins for kids involves whether or not vitamins are actually good for them. As parents, we want to do what’s best for our kids, and would never want to unintentionally harm them in any way. That’s why it’s so important to only give our kids the best of the best when it comes to nutrition – vitamin supplements included. 

Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for growth and nutrition, and every human being needs a certain amount and combination of vitamins and minerals in order to function properly. However, vitamins and minerals are even more important for young children because their bodies are still constantly growing and developing,  and this happens best with the correct  types and amounts of vitamins. For this reason, kids need very specific quantities of several different vitamins on a daily basis to ensure that their bodies and brains grow and develop to the best of their ability. 

When it comes to vitamin supplements, it’s easy to assume that all supplements are the same and that all of them will be beneficial to your child’s health, but that’s not always the case. In order for a supplement to actually be good for children, it needs to contain just the right concentration of the vitamins that children need– no more and no less. A supplement for kids should not contain any potentially toxic ingredients--take iron for example. Even though iron is an essential mineral that carries oxygen through the blood, it has been shown to be toxic at high quantities. Therefore, for most children, iron is best obtained directly from whole foods like beans, spinach, tofu, and broccoli rather than from an iron supplement. Overall, vitamin supplements are good for kids if they are well-researched and developed by pediatricians like those at Hiya, who are experts in children’s nutrition and growth.

Does My Kid Need Vitamins?

In an ideal world, your child would be able to get all of the vitamins and minerals that they need to grow big and strong from their diet alone. However, we all know that this doesn’t always happen. No matter how hard you try, it can be very difficult to get your child to eat foods that are rich in essential vitamins. So while every child could benefit from taking vitamin supplements to get the nutrients they may be lacking in their diet, there are some groups of children who may depend on vitamins to get nutrients that they are unable to get otherwise:

  • Children with food allergies may need vitamin supplements to provide them with the nutrients they can’t obtain through their normal diet,  such as those who can’t consume dairy due to lactose intolerance or gluten due to celiac disease. 
  • Children with chronic illnesses may need vitamin supplements to help their immune system function at its best so they can remain as healthy as possible even with their condition.
  • Children with restricted diets like vegetarians or vegans might need vitamin supplements to make sure that they get the valuable vitamins and minerals that are usually found in meat,dairy, and other products that are off-limits to this lifestyle. 
  • Children with physical or developmental delays might need a vitamin supplement to promote growth and brain development so that they can function at the best level possible. 

What Specific Vitamins Does My Kid Need?

Kids need a lot of the same vitamins as adults do, so you are probably already familiar with a lot of them. However, kids need vitamins in different quantities than adults do, which is why it’s so important to find a vitamin supplement that is made specifically for kids. While there are a bunch of vitamins and minerals that kids need in order to grow big and strong, here is our list of what we think are the  most important ones: 

  • Vitamin A: Has been shown to boost immunity, improves eyesight, and can help with cell growths throughout the body. Vitamin A is found in foods like kale, carrots, and squash. 
  • Vitamin B: Different types of B vitamins can be beneficial  to  children, including B1, B5, B7, B9, and B12.
    • B1 (Thiamin): May improve concentration, sleep, and mood. Is found in seaweed, whole grains, and legumes. 
    • B5 (Pantothenic acid): Has been shown to improve energy, increase focus, and promote sleep. Is found in mushrooms, milk, and kale. 
    • B7 (Biotin): Has been shown to help cells, skin, and the digestive system function at their best. Is found in cauliflower, mushrooms, and avocados. 
    • B9 (Folate): May provide energy and promote proper cell growth. Is found in broccoli, brussel sprouts, and avocados. 
    • B12: May help with sleep and memory. Is found in bananas, liver, and milk. 
  • Vitamin C: May promote a healthy immune system  and proper growth. Oranges, orange juice, peppers, and strawberries are all good sources of Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D: Has been shown to help  strengthen bones. You can obtain Vitamin D from food sources like mushrooms, citrus fruits, and fish oil. 
  • Vitamin E: May improve eyesight, benefit heart health, and boost immunity. Vitamin E is found in  avocados, spinach, and almonds. 
  • Calcium: Has been shown to help build strong bones, and may help kids grow big and tall. Broccoli, collard greens, and kale are all good sources of calcium. 
  • Iodine: Involved in healthy  metabolism, growth, and development. Iodine is found in foods like kelp and eggs. 
  • Zinc: Has been shown to help boost immunity and may fight off infections during cold and flu season. Can be found in beans, meat, and poultry. 
  • Riboflavin: Has been shown to benefit eye health, may boost energy, and can promote healthy cell growth. Riboflavin is found in foods like spinach, bananas, and asparagus. 
  • Manganese: May help improve sleep, mood, and concentration, for a happier and healthier kid. Manganese is found in avocados, spinach, and bananas. 
  • Selenium: Has been shown to benefit sleep and mood and may also reduce inflammation. Food sources with selenium include tuna and mushrooms. 

What Does a Good Vitamin Supplement Look Like?

We get it – kids need an overwhelming amount of different vitamins and minerals from a wide variety of food sources, but making your grocery list and tracking your kid’s healthy diet to make sure that they get all the nutrition they need doesn’t have to become a full-time job. The good news is that reputable children’s vitamin companies just like Hiya have done all the work for you! They have done the research and know exactly what your healthy children need to grow as big and strong as they can, having packedall of the essentials into one vitamin supplement that your kid will actually want to take. Instead of battling at the dinner table trying to get your kids to eat unappealing things like spinach, asparagus, and kale, you can just give them a yummy, chewable daily multivitamin, and gain the peace of mind that their nutritional needs are being met. 

That being said, not all vitamin supplements are created equal. In order to find the absolute best one for your kid that y promotes healthy growth and development, here’s what to look for:

  • Many kids’ vitamin supplements contain loads of added sugar, which can actually counteract the health benefits that the vitamins claim to offer in the first place! For this reason, look for a sugar-free dietary supplement that is sweetened with natural substances rather than artificial ones.
  • Many kids’ vitamin supplements also don’t contain all of the vitamins and minerals that kids actually need. Look for a complete multivitamin that contains everything that your kid needs, and nothing they don’t. 
  • Finally, many kids’ vitamin supplements are made with chemicals and fillers that can be  unhealthy. Look for something that is made from real fruits and vegetables with no preservatives. 

How to Teach My Kid About Vitamins?

Teaching your kid about vitamins is a great way to teach them about health and nutrition in general. In addition to talking to them about their yummy new vitamin, you can also talk to them about getting off of their tablets and exercising outside, as well as eating their fruits and veggies at the dinner table. It might also be a good idea for you to start taking vitamins with your kid if you aren’t getting enough, yourself--you and your child can create a routine together and move toward a healthier lifestyle as a family. Most importantly, make sure to teach your child that vitamins are not candy, and should not be treated as such. That way, your kid knows not to raid the cabinet in search of something to fix their sweet tooth!. Overall, teaching your kid about vitamins can easily go beyond the simple act of just popping one in your mouth once a day, and can instead bring your family closer together to live a healthier lifestyle. 

*The FDA plays a specific role in regulating nutraceuticals and for all companies requires the following disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.