The truth is that a supplement can provide much-needed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your child may not get from their regular diet.
The problem, of course, is getting him or her to actually take the supplement each day without causing a fuss. GLX3 is about as easy to take as a pill can be, but we haven’t developed a line of gummies or chewable tablets yet (though, now that we mention it, this could be an idea for an upcoming staff meeting!).
These tips will help your child not only get on board with taking a supplement, it will help you frame this task that is good for their health as a fun bonding activity.
First, a few things to know:
- Most kids over age six can swallow small capsules.
- Never force a capsule down a child’s throat. If the child is anxious, forming this new habit may take time.
1. Turn capsule training into a fun game
Now, we’re not usually the ones recommending candy, especially outside of desert time. But if your child has never swallowed a pill before and is nervous at the idea of doing so, a bit of training can make the process more approachable. Start by grabbing some empty capsules (start with a small size, like Size 0) from Amazon. Be sure to have the child drink water before attempting to swallow the capsule. You can try with empty capsules or fill them with liquid, such as water or juice.
Lest we forget, we did mention candy above. Small, dissolvable candies like M&Ms or Smarties can be helpful in helping your child get accustomed to swallowing something small and hand-fed on a regular basis (a tasty reward never hurts the cause, of course). The thing to watch out for here, however, is too much practice — instead of making perfect, it can lead to oral hygiene issues.
If the child still has trouble or is frustrated, a Medi-Spot bottle can make the process easier than ever. The spout attaches to a regular-sized water bottle — simply place the pill in the spout, and the child can swallow it with ease.
2. Follow a set routine
“Routine” is a word we use a lot in this guide because it is the main thing you want to strive for with your child — getting him or her accustomed to taking the supplement and to the point where it is viewed as another daily task rather than something to be feared.
We recommend the “Show Stopper” process for helping your child become a “Mini-Me” Hake Life Warrior. This process is simple (and named as such because the goal is to “stop” the process from being a show). There are three steps to the process:
- Have your child drink a small amount of cool water or their favorite non-sugary drink.
- Ask the child to “show you the whale” (the whale being a moistened tongue)≥
- Place the pill onto the center of the tongue.
- Encourage the child to drink a larger portion of water or the beverage to swallow the pill.
3. Start small and progress
Depending on the supplement or pill, you may be able to break it down into smaller doses. Starting small can help a child who is anxious over the prospect of swallowing a pill to overcome that fear with quick, easy wins.
If the supplement is in capsule form, try breaking it in half and doing one half in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. For liquid capsules, you could mix the liquid into their favorite drink (the same is true for anything that can be bought as a dissolvable).
Blending the supplement into treats like yogurt, fruit smoothies, or jello can work, too. And, if all else fails, you could bring the supplement with you to the child’s favorite fast restaurant and engage it with their meal.
Making it fun and engaging instead of a chore is the key.
4. Use positive reinforcement
Speaking of engaging, who doesn’t like a bit of positive reinforcement? You could dive into the benefits of an omega-3 supplement with them — like that omega-3 supplements have been shown to help boys with ADD, according to a study referenced by Science Daily. If that doesn’t motivate them, try one of these ideas:
With young children of any age, adding a small prize or congratulatory celebration to the end of the pill-taking process helps it become routine and something to look forward to instead of something to dread.
It doesn’t have to be much — a high five, a few extra minutes of screen time — you know what motivates your child.
Another idea is to create a chart that tracks the number of days the child has taken the supplement. Set a goal of reaching a certain number of consecutive successful attempts (start small — 4 or 5 days) and offer a larger reward then. Something like allowing him or her to watch that show or movie they heard about or ordering an extra treat the next time you go out to dinner — things the child can look forward to and associate directly as the result of their positive behavior.