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Most parents know that getting their children to take anything they don't want to is a battle at the best of times. I can remember, when I was young, refusing to consume almost anything I didn't like - medicine, Marmite, or my least favourite: sprouts! Even now, I avoid them at all costs, Christmas being the only exception.
We know how important it is for your children to get their daily dose of friendly bacteria, so, we put our heads together and had a bit of a brainstorm. Stay tuned for eight creative, clever and downright sneaky ways to ensure your kids get their daily fix of those mighty microbes.
One sure way of supporting your children in taking their live cultures is by giving them a bit of independence and letting them take the lead, especially if they're a bit older. Perhaps introduce a calendar or star chart so they can track their progress. There could even be a little incentive to be earned at the end of the week!
Get your kids interested in good bacteria! Talking to your kids about their health makes them feel much more involved. Our brains soak up information more readily when we’re young1, too, and your smart little cookies will probably love learning something new with you. Who knows, you might even create a budding little scientist!
My mum used to tell me that carrots would make me see in the dark and spinach would make me strong, so you could think of 'superpowers' for friendly bacteria. You know best which superpowers are currently in demand in your house, so we'll leave you to get creative with that one.
If you have fussy eaters or babies, taking supplements might not be an option. Instead of giving it to them directly, you might have to get sneaky. Open the capsules or use powdered or liquid live cultures, and mix the contents into food and drink. They’ll never even know it’s there! Just make sure you don’t add it to anything hot or acidic – this can kill the friendly bacteria before they've had a chance to make it to the gut. Yoghurt, milk or baby food at breakfast time works perfectly.
Little ones are renowned for having vivid imaginations, so why not allow them to run wild? Conjure up a wizard's potion or witch's brew with good bacteria being the special ingredient. Have your kids add the live cultures themselves to make it even more fun.
And for all those mini science lovers out there you might want to try presenting them with a healthy green smoothie in a test tube, helping them to mix the live cultures in. Or, indulge their fascination with all things gross. Have a go at creating some fun and exciting ways to incorporate friendly bacteria into breakfast.
Another way to persuade your children to take their friendly bacteria is to turn it into something straight out of a storybook. Try calling it something that will spark their interest - 'fairy dust’ or 'monster parts’ perhaps. Make breakfast time a little bit more magical, and we guarantee their live cultures will go down like an enchanted potion.
Get creative with how you mix it into their food, too. Why not try sprinkling the live cultures on toast or creating a pattern on top of baby food? You could also add it as 'frosting' or 'snow' on top of a healthy breakfast muffin.
If you have lots of family members, all living under the same roof and taking live cultures on a daily basis, you could use this to your advantage. If your children see their older brothers or sisters taking the product, as well as mum and dad, then it must be good, right?! If everyone else is doing it the likelihood is that your children are going to want to do it too.
We hope these suggestions help you to encourage your little ones to take their friendly bacteria every day. We’d love to hear how you get on!
It is easier now more than ever for children to get a boost of friendly bacteria - in the form of a gummy. Optibac Kids Gummies are a delicious, strawberry-flavoured probiotic gummy that kids will love. With its naturally sweet, fruity taste and soft chew texture, it's a nice little treat for kids to enjoy, whilst still reaping the benefits of probiotics. Once they taste it, they won't need reminding to take their daily probiotic again!
Want to know more about live cultures for your children? Our resident gut microbiologist Dr Kate explains all you need to know in her article over on the Probiotics Learning Lab: 'Probiotics For Kids'.