01 Jul 2019
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 probiotics is by giving them a bit of independence and letting them take it by themselves, especially if they're a bit older. Allowing them to check it off on a calendar or star chart might encourage them to continue to take the initiative every morning. There could even be a little incentive to be earned at the end of the week?
Fundamentally, the reason we take live cultures is to maintain or supply the gut with plenty of friendly or 'good' bacteria. With over 70% of your immune system based in your gut, digestive health is key to our overall well-being1. Explaining this to your kids in a way they can understand should get them thinking about why they're taking probiotics.
If your kids watch you take your friendly bacteria at breakfast time, or you take it together, they are likely to continue to do this over time. You could also play around with these old ideas: 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 your son or daughter is a little younger and doesn't like the idea of swallowing capsules, try easily-dissolved sachets that can be sprinkled onto cereal or into water - your kids wont even know it's there! But take care not to add it to anything hot or acidic as that can kill off the friendly bacteria before they've had a chance to make it to the gut.
Little ones are renowned for having vivid imaginations, so why not allow them to run wild? You could conjure up a wizard's potion or witch's brew. We're pretty confident most children would love the idea of having that for breakfast. You could even make your own healthy version of an 'energy' drink and explain that this will give them the boost they need for a full day of 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 probiotics in. Or else, indulge their fascination with all things gross. Have a go at creating some fun and exciting ways to incorporate probiotics into breakfast.
Another way to persuade your children to take their friendly bacteria is to use a different, more exciting name when giving it to them every morning. Try calling it by names that will spark their interest - 'Princess Dust' or 'Pokemon Stardust' perhaps. Or who doesn't love a 'secret recipe'? Nothing better than taking your probiotics with that added bit of mystery.
Get creative with how you mix it into their food, too. Why not try sprinkling the live cultures on toast or creating a pattern in a smoothie bowl. 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 probiotics 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 your mum or 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. Have a go and see what happens.
We hope these 8 suggestions will help you to encourage your little ones to take their probiotics every day. We'd be really interested to hear how you get on.
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1 Fang et al (2000) Modulation of humoral immune response through probiotic intake. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2000 Sep;29 (1):47-52.
2 Manzano, S. et al. (2017) Safety and tolerance of three probiotic strains in healthy infants: a multi-centre randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial; Beneficial Microbes, 2017 online.