get to know your ABC’s with our essential guide to vitamins for kids.
Health and safety

Know your ABC’s – The essential guide to vitamins for kids

We all want the best for our children, but sometimes it’s hard to work out what is the best. When it comes to vitamins our best intentions can often get sidetracked in confusion. What is Vitamin B and does my child need it? Is Vitamin D really necessary for all kids? What foods contain Vitamin E?

With this in mind we’ve done the homework for you.

Know your ABC’s

First off we need to know what the different vitamins are good for. This handy image can be printed off and popped on the fridge to refer back to when needed.

Know your ABCs

Essential vitamins and where to find them

Vitamin A

Good for:

  • Strengthens immunity against infections
  • Helps vision in dim light
  • Keeps skin and the linings of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy

essential vitamins for kids

Found in:

  • cheese
  • eggs
  • oily fish
  • fortified low-fat spreads
  • milk and yoghurt

Vitamin B6

Good for:

Allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food.

essential vitamins for kids

Found in:

  • pork
  • poultry – such as chicken or turkey
  • fish
  • bread
  • wholegrain cereals – such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice
  • eggs
  • vegetables
  • soya beans
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • potatoes
  • some fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin B12

Good for:

Makes red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy. Releases energy from the food we eat.

essential vitamins for kids

Found in:

  • meat
  • salmon
  • cod
  • milk
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • some fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin C

Good for:

Protects cells and keeps them healthy. Necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue.

essential guide to vitamins for kids.

Found in:

  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes

Vitamin D

Good for:

Growth and development of bones and teeth in children.

essential vitamins for kids

Found in:

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals

Vitamin E

Good for:

Helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthen the body’s natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system).

Found in:

  • plant oils – such as soya, corn and olive oil
  • nuts and seeds
  • wheatgerm – found in cereals and cereal products

(Source: HSE and NHS)

FREE PRINTABLES!

To help keep your family’s healthy eating on track, we have not one but two free printables for you!

Get ready to start ticking off those days off with this brilliant Healthy Eating Chart.

Healthy eating chart for kids

Click here to print: Healthy eating chart for kids

Refer back to those import vitamins with our Know your ABC’s essential guide.

More you might like

Raising adventurous eaters
7 strategies for fussy eaters
Is your child eating too much sugar?

 

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.

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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.