Just like adults, children also face digestive problems such as constipation and bloating that can be terribly uncomfortable. While there are more serious digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, which involve more of a management plan than a cure, most digestive problems are as a result of poor eating habits. Here are a few tips to help you maintain an optimum digestive environment for your child.
Overeating strains the entire digestive system and can cause constipation. Simply start with small amounts of food and add only if your child asks for more or you feel they may not be full. Ensure you put in place snack times in between meals. Meals should ideally be children’s main source of food but even then, ensure that the portions allocated are just enough. A good indicator that a child is full is when they start slowing down between bites.
Drink enough water
Water is life and the old adage has proven to be true. Water helps to not only hydrate the body, but also ease movement of nutrients and waste throughout the body. Some quarters suggest that water is best consumed 30 or less minutes before meal times but when dealing with toddlers, this may be irrelevant as even a little drink can backfire making the toddler feel full. Restrict the fizzy and sugary drinks as much as you can.
Exercise or generally staying active helps to move things along including in the bowel. Also watch out against stress and anxiety (even toddlers can undergo distress) common when going through transitions such as potty training, joining new schools or facing challenges such as bullying which may manifest as constipation, diarrhoea and so on. Encourage your child to respond to nature calls immediately as holding it in may lead to other problems such as urinary tract infections among others.
Proper nutrition is the building block to a successful digestive system so a balanced diet is key. To make it count, ensure you get the highest quality of all the food groups to the best of your ability. Substitute refined foods with unrefined ones, sugar with honey and so on. Vegetables and fruits also contain loads of fibre, which are key elements in digestion.
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