Preventing and Relieving Constipation in Children

Fruits and Veggies in Heart Dishes

It is no fun for your little one when they are suffering from constipation..and no fun for you either! As parents, we would do and try anything to help relieve our child’s discomfort. The good news is that constipation is usually temporary and we can help them by ensuring that they are getting the right nutrients into their bodies. Constipation is a sign that our children need more foods that will support their digestive and intestinal health. A high fiber, nutrient dense diet with plenty of fluids is necessary to keep things running smoothly, literally!

Below are some tips and tricks on what to avoid and what to include in your little one’s diet and lifestyle to prevent and relieve constipation.

Constipation causing foods:

  • Milk + dairy products
  • Chocolate
  • Red meat
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods

The above foods lack the nutrients necessary to assist digestive health and function, contributing to bloating, pain and constipation.

child drinking a smoothie

Foods that relieve constipation:

  • High Fiber Fruits like Berries, apricots, prunes, figs, dates, plums, raisins, apples and pears.
  • Gently steamed veggies like spinach, carrots, and broccoli.
  • Legumes: Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, peas, and chickpeas.
  • Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds.

TIP: Smoothies are a great way to get several of these foods into your child’s body at once!

The above foods contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals that help soften stools and make them easier to pass. Ensure you purchase these foods in their natural state without any added sugar or artificial ingredients.

child with apple

Other Methods to Prevent and Relieve Constipation

  1. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water!
    Aim for half of your child’s body weight in ounces per day.
  2. Get your kids moving!
    Whether it’s biking, walking, swimming or even helping Mom or Dad with chores – exercise helps stimulate normal bowel function.
  3. Create a routine!
    This is helpful especially for children between ages 2-4. Set aside some time for your child to sit on the toilet after meals.
  4. Talk to your children!
    Talk about the importance of using the washroom as soon as they need to go. Kids will sometimes ignore their need to have a bowel movement because they are so wrapped up in playing. They just don’t want to miss out on anything! Unfortunately, this is a contributing factor to constipation. They may also withhold their urge to poop if they are already constipated, however it is important that they don’t hold it in as it will only worsen.

Certain medications can cause constipation in children. Talk to your doctor if your child is taking something that may be interfering with their bowel health.

parenting comforting a child

If your child is experiencing anal fissures or tears, blood in their stools, vomiting, fever or weight loss along with constipation, then ensure you take them to the doctor as they may need further support. It is very distressing to watch your child in pain due to constipation. The best way we can help them as parents is to ensure that their bodies are being supported by all of the nutrients it needs to function optimally. By doing this you will hopefully have your little one feeling back to their healthy, happy selves in no time!

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Jenna StandishContributor
Jenna Standish is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Reiki level one practitioner and RMT student. She gets excited about all things nutrition, fitness and personal development but her biggest passion of all is being a Mom to her sweet baby girl, Lennon. Since becoming a mother in 2017, Jenna’s dream has changed to guide and empower women to become the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves. She loves to motivate women to take control of their body, mind and spirit health so that they can show up as their best selves every day, especially for their families. Follow her on Instagram to receive tips, tricks, free recipes, health and wellness advice.

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