How to Explain Vitamins to a Child?
  /   Dr. John Snow

How to Explain Vitamins to a Child?

So, you’re thinking about giving your kids vitamins, but are stuck wondering how to explain vitamins to your kid when you might not even understand them yourself! The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in order to teach your kids about the importance of vitamins – you just have to know the basics and a few key points. Thankfully, we are here to help teach you everything you need to know about kid’s vitamins (and vitamins in general) so that you can explain this concept to your kids and help start them on the path toward a healthy lifestyle that can continue to benefit them long after they stop taking their kid’s chewable multivitamins. 

Why Do Kids Need Vitamins?

What are vitamins and why do we need them? Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for the growth and nutrition of the human body, no matter how old you are! Everyone generally needs the same vitamins and minerals because our bodies are all generally the same, but there are some key differences based on age, lifestyle, and even genetics! Children need smaller doses of vitamins since their bodies are smaller, but that doesn’t mean that vitamins are less important for children – in fact, it’s actually the opposite! 

Vitamins are extremely important in a child's diet because vitamins are essential for normal growth and development,and I’m sure you’re aware that kids are always growing based on the number of clothes and shoes that they go through every year! How your child grows and develops now will affect them for the rest of their life, so it’s no wonder that parents would want to provide them with everything that they need to grow up strong and smart! 

The consequences of your child not receiving enough vitamins may be profound, and unfortunately, vitamin deficiencies are more common than you would think because symptoms of vitamin deficiencies aren’t necessarily obvious in everyday life. In fact, many seemingly-healthy children have vitamin deficiencies that their parents might have no clue about. Children are especially prone to Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and calcium deficiencies, especially if they are not able to consume various animal products due to allergies or dietary restrictions like those that come with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. The best way to prevent these potentially harmful vitamin deficiencies is to make sure that your child is getting all of the nutrition that they need, either from food alone or with the help of a daily multivitamin made especially for children, like those from Hiya

Explaining Vitamins to a Child

Vitamins for kids are appealing for so many reasons. In an ideal world, your child would be able to easily get all of the vitamins and minerals that they need from a balanced diet alone. However, we all know that this is much easier said than done. Some kids are extremely picky eaters and refuse to eat vitamin-rich foods because they aren’t exactly appetizing for a young child. Some parents simply don’t have the time or energy to constantly track what their kids are eating, nonetheless provide them with daily or weekly sources of over a dozen essential vitamins. Maybe your child has a food allergy or a restricted diet that makes it difficult for them to get all of the vitamins that they need no matter how hard you try. In any case, vitamin supplements are a great way to ensure that your child is getting all of the nutrition and nourishment that they need to continue to grow and develop at the ideal rates. 

When it comes to talking to your child about taking a vitamin, it’s a really great opportunity to teach them about health in general. Talking about this now and teaching them healthy habits early on is a great way to ensure that they continue these habits and live a healthy lifestyle well into the future! In addition to talking about vitamins, you should also talk to them about overall diet and exercise. There are many fun activities that you can do to teach them about the basic food groups and the food pyramid, especially using fun colors and games to engage them. You should also talk to them about exercise ,and encourage them to put down the tablet and get outside to play for at least 30 minutes each day to stay fit and healthy. Finally, you should also emphasize that they need to be drinking lots of water instead of things like juices or sodas so that their bodies can get the hydration they need to function properly. 

It’s good to  talk to them about what vitamins do and why vitamins are important to help them grow up to be big, strong, and smart. However, you should also emphasize that just because they are taking their vitamin  doesn’t mean that they don’t have to eat healthy, and they should continue to eat  a variety of foods like fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, red meats, and dairy products to make up a healthy diet. A vitamin shouldn’t act as a replacement for these healthy foods, but rather serve as a helper  to fill in the gaps that might be harder for parents to fulfill on a regular basis. Try making the process fun for them by playing games or setting an example by taking your vitamins together as a family. 

One thing that you definitely need to explain to your child is that vitamins are not candy and should not be treated as such. It’s easy to understand why kids might think that vitamins are candy – after all, they are chewy and sweet just like candy! However, this line of thinking might lead your child to consume extra amounts of vitamins if they are able to get their hands on them, so in addition to making sure that they know that vitamins aren’t candy, you should also keep their vitamins in a place that can’t  easily be reached or accessed by tiny hands looking for something yummy to snack on. 

Which Vitamins Do Kids Need?

  • Vitamin A: Has been shown to boost immunity, improves eyesight, and grows cells throughout the body. 
  • Vitamin B: Different types of B vitamins that are necessary for children include B1, B2, B5, B7, B9, and Vitamin B12.
    • B1 (Thiamin): May improve concentration, sleep, and mood. 
    • B2 (Riboflavin): Has been shown to benefit eye health, boosts energy, and promotes healthy cell growth.
    • B5 (Pantothenic acid): May improve energy, increases focus, and promotes sleep. 
    • B7 (Biotin): Has been shown to help cells, skin, and the digestive system. 
    • B9 (Folate): May provide energy and grow cells. 
    • B12: Has been shown to help with sleep and memory. 
  • Vitamin C: May promote a healthy immune system by reducing illnesses and promotes growth. 
  • Vitamin D: Is known to help to strengthen bones and reduce illnesses. 
  • Vitamin E: May improve eyesight, benefits heart health, and boosts immunity. 
  • Calcium: Have been shown to help to build strong bones and may help kids grow big and tall. 
  • Zinc: Possibly helps to boost immunity and fight infections during cold and flu season. 
  • Manganese: May help improve sleep, mood, and concentration for a happier and healthier kid. 
  • Iodine: Has been shown to control metabolism, growth, and development. 
  • Selenium: May benefit sleep and mood and also reduces harmful inflammation. 

How to Find a Good Kid’s Vitamin?

We understand that the sheer amount and diversity of vitamins and minerals that kids need is overwhelming. That’s why a good kids’  vitamin should  include every vitamin and mineral that kids need based on nutrition guidelines set out by experts, like dietitians and the American Academy of Pediatrics. That way, taking vitamin and mineral supplements is one and done, and you can skip the worry and get back to the rest of your day The best kids’  vitamins should be developed and backed by pediatricians and scientists who are well-versed in the exact forms and amounts of vitamins that are best for kids. Quantities are very important when it comes to vitamins because more isn’t necessarily better. 

Because you are giving your child vitamins to help ensure that they are healthy, you should be wary of vitamins that also contain unhealthy ingredients.. It’s definitely easy to assume that all vitamins are healthy and don’t contain any potentially harmful components, but that’s not always the case. Many kids’  vitamins contain undesirable ingredients like sugars, preservatives, fillers, and artificial chemicals. Instead, you should be giving a vitamin that is sugar-free and is made from natural ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables, just like the vitamins made by Hiya. While  it might be tempting to go with the typical gummy vitamin just because they are popular, that might not be the best option because gummy vitamins often contain high amounts of sugar and chemicals that can actually lead to cavities! Instead, opt for a chewable multivitamin that is naturally sweetened and is still as delicious to kids as their gummy counterparts! 

Obviously every parent wants the best for their kids, and every child is unique with their own personalities and quirks. While  your approach to talking to your kids about vitamins might vary a bit based on that uniqueness and of course their age,  children’s nutritional needs are all generally going to be the same,  that’s why giving your child a sugar-free multivitamin is perhaps the best thing that you can do to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrition they need to grow up big, strong, and smart. Starting these healthy habits as a family now makes it more likely that your child will continue these practices into the future, giving them a well-nourished lifestyle to take far beyond just childhood.

*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.