I recently thought I was very clever when I introduced chewable multivitamins and probiotics to my 2-year-old daughter by calling them “candy.” However, after checking with some experts, I quickly learned that calling vitamins candy is a big no-no.
With their candy-like shapes (my daughter’s Rainbow Light vitamins resemble stars), sweet tastes, fun colors and sometimes-gummy textures, kids can easily mistake vitamins for actual candy, especially if you reinforce that belief.
As the experts over at What to Expect point out, calling vitamins candy “will have your toddler begging for more.” And this desire could potentially lead to accidental overdoses if young children get a hold of the vitamin “candy” when you’re not around, as Joy Bauer points out.
So, given that calling vitamins and probiotics “candy” isn’t a good idea, you may be wondering what you can call the daily doses to help encourage your little ones to take them. Today’s hint is some terms to help you.
The always-helpful Nurse Judy, the advice nurse at my daughter’s pediatrician’s office, suggests calling chewable probiotics “special medicine to keep your tummy healthy that tastes yummy.” And for multivitamins without probiotics, you can alter the description slightly, calling them “special medicine to keep you healthy that tastes yummy.” Meanwhile, she says she’d call gummies something like “a tummy gummy.”
But regardless of whether you’re giving your little one a chewable or a gummy dose, Nurse Judy says to make it clear that “special medicine” and “tummy gummies” aren’t candy and that “only Mommy and Daddy can pass them out.” Finally, she says, make sure to keep the vitamins and probiotics in a spot your young child can’t access.
To be sure, there’s a debate I’m not going to get into over whether or not young children even need to take vitamins. And once your kids are old enough to grasp that vitamins aren’t candy, what to call the chewables and gummies becomes less of a big deal.
Of course, no matter how old your kids are, you always could just call vitamins “vitamins” from the get go to help avoid confusion, and you can make them attractive to take in your explanation of what a vitamin is or by taking yours at the same time. Still, I like to think that designating a special term for the daily doses helps the medicine go down.
What are your tips for getting kids to take their vitamins?