Kids are the hallmark finicky eaters, settling early into patterns of what makes up their lists of acceptable and unacceptable foods. If you’re a parent or caregiver looking to aid your child’s health through herbal supplements, you may find yourself facing an uphill battle from the outset. These following tips can help you get your kids to take herbs, and also enjoy the process.
The first tip is to understand why your child might be resistant to taking herbs. This means listening actively to their refusals and reasons. Do your best to coax out something beyond a ‘no’ to the action, being encouraging to your child’s expressive words.
If it is a misconception that herbs aren’t needed for health, consider the age of your child and have a talk with them about the benefits of herbs. Try to use analogies; for example, many children watch television commercials that sell multivitamins to adults and also kids their age. Point out that herbs are nature’s vitamins, just a different form. You may be surprised at the positive reaction you get to such a simple comparison.
If your child finds the herbs unpalatable and too similar to those threatening vegetables, try and utilize herbs that have interesting flavors. Children are very sensitive to taste, so giving them something that looks leafy but tastes sweet or spicy will intrigue their taste buds.
A second key tip to getting kids to take herbs is to involve them in the process. Just like the discussion component, you need to take an active and encouraging approach. Just because this is about your child’s overall health doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun as well.
For example, culinary minded children may want to experiment cooking with the herbs or using them as garnishes. For picky eaters this is one of the easiest ways to involve them; challenge them to find a way to hide the herb in food! It might make a mess of your kitchen, but incorporating herbs into healthy snacks and meals is one of the best ways to give them to children.
Another way to involve children is to teach them about herbs. Many herbal publications have informative and detailed pictures along with interesting stories about the herb’s usage and cultivation. Allow your child to learn and become an herb investigator; whether you purchase your herbs at a store, the farmer’s market, or grow them yourself, you can find a way to involve your child.
A final tip is to be honest with your children that taking herbs is for their health. Like brushing teeth and combing hair, it can easily be integrated into the daily routine. If you have already worked through other daily hygiene or health rituals with your child, point out that herbs are another responsibility you hope they will accept. Some children respond very well to being given the task of taking care of homegrown herbs – some potting soil, fertilizer, water and seeds can give you a project for your child to embrace.
No matter what approach you take, keep in mind that all children are different. Some might not need a lot of coaxing, while others will remain stubborn for a while. The more you attempt to engage them in taking herbs, the easier it will be for you to get the result you want – happy children taking healthy herbs!