Save 15% + FREE shipping when you Subscribe & Save. SHOP NOW

4 Tips to Promote Regularity in Kids from a Registered Dietitian

Are you looking for more gut health tips to ensure your kid’s digestive system stays on track? Irregularity in kids can lead to chronic constipation, which is uncomfortable and stressful for both parents and their little ones. However, there are a few foundational habits that when implemented on a daily basis, can help build better habits for gut health and support regular bowel movements. Here are 4 gut health tips to implement daily that support digestive regularity in kids:

1. Embrace Prebiotic-Rich Foods

Prebiotics, such as fibers found in apples, onions, and leeks act as nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria to thrive. This promotes a balanced digestive system, ultimately helping with softer and more frequent poops [1]. Consider incorporating prebiotic foods into your kiddo’s meals daily to promote regularity. For instance, start their day with an apple smoothie or blend onions and leeks into soups for a flavorful boost of prebiotics.

Begin Health Expert Tip Check out our blog 5 Examples of Prebiotic Foods Kids Love for more ideas on prebiotics to incorporate into your kiddo’s routine. For our pickier eaters, adding Growing Up Prebiotics is an easy way to sneak in daily prebiotics. It’s tasteless, textureless, and provides 3g of fiber per serving to help kiddos with digestion through softer, more frequent poops. Just mix into your kiddo’s water or favorite beverage to help their digestive systems stay regular.

2. Hydration Matters

Proper hydration is often underestimated in digestive health. A study in school-age kids found that improper hydration was found in 53% of kids and 16.3% of them were severely dehydrated during a school day [7]. Water aids in softening stool, making it easier to pass [2]. Additionally, offering water-rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges can also count towards hydration and supplement their needs to support healthy digestion

Kids Hydration Recommendations by Age

Age

Liquid Amount

Infants (0 - 6 months)

Breastmilk or formula as their only source of hydration. Small sips of water can be introduced with solid foods between 6 - 12 months.

Toddlers (1 - 3 years)

Half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight

Kids (ages 4 and above)

Half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight

Source: Children’s Hospital of Orange County

3. Encourage Physical Activity

Regular exercise not only fosters muscle development but also stimulates intestinal muscles, promoting efficient movement of food through the digestive tract [3]. Encourage your little one to engage in activities they enjoy, such as playing outdoors, swimming, or dancing. Active playtime is a fun way to keep their digestive system in top shape and avoids sedentary behaviors which can lead to constipation symptoms [6].

4. Establish Consistent Meal Times

Maintaining regular meal schedules helps regulate bowel movements by establishing a routine for the digestive system. Consistency in meal times assists the body in anticipating food intake, allowing for more predictable digestive patterns [5]. Establishing regular mealtimes can also establish a routine for your little one,

Summary: Adopting healthy habits for gut health such as incorporating prebiotics, avoiding dehydration, encouraging physical activity, and establishing regular mealtimes into your kid’s routine can significantly contribute to their digestive health and ensure regularity.

References:

[1] Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417–1435.

[2] Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458.

[3] De Schryver, A. M., Keulemans, Y. C., Peters, H. P., Akkermans, L. M., & Smout, A. J. (2005). Effects of regular physical activity on defecation pattern in middle-aged patients complaining of chronic constipation. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 40(4), 422–429.

[4] Anderson, J. W., Baird, P., Davis Jr, R. H., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V., & Williams, C. L. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews, 67(4), 188–205.

[5] Black, C. J., Ford, A. C., & Ford, A. C. (2018). Chronic idiopathic constipation in adults: epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and clinical management. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 3(9), 738–747.

[6] Stachowska E, Maciejewska D, Palma J, Jamioł-Milc D, Szczuko M, Marlicz W, Wunsch E, Skonieczna-Żydecka K. Improvement of bowel movements among people with a sedentary lifestyle after prebiotic snack supply - preliminary study. Prz Gastroenterol. 2022;17(1):73-80. doi: 10.5114/pg.2021.108985. Epub 2021 Nov 1. PMID: 35371359; PMCID: PMC8942012.

[7] Kozioł-Kozakowska A, Piórecka B, Suder A, Jagielski P. Body Composition and a School Day Hydration State among Polish Children-A Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 30;17(19):7181. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197181. PMID: 33008100; PMCID: PMC7579491.

May Zhu, RDN

May Zhu, RDN

May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.



Also in Learn

How Magnesium Helps Heart Health in Kids
How Magnesium Helps Heart Health in Kids

What Are The Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber for Kids?
What Are The Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber for Kids?

What is Insoluble Fiber for Kids? Benefits and Importance Explained
What is Insoluble Fiber for Kids? Benefits and Importance Explained

Reviews