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Ways to help your child’s constipation

constipation symptoms in kids

Nobody likes feeling backed up; your stomach rumbles with discomfort, your clothes don’t quite fit as they should (and you have put on a kilo since yesterday!) and gas seems to punctuate social moments with embarrassing aplomb, as you rush to the toilet, convinced it might just happen this time. 

So you sit for a while…Nothing. Just more discomfort. Imagine how a child feels, unable to fully communicate their frustrations, dealing with the ballooning pressure of their bowels and intestine rebelling against the introduction of negative flora or a foreign substance into a well-tended digestive garden. Recognising the symptoms of constipation is half the battle for many parents, as children can remain closed lipped about their true feelings, fearing the same mortifying conversations we work through with our doctors.

Luckily, there exists a range of methods to help your child fight the back log and get back on the path to regular motions.

Water It Down

After pin-pointing certain difficulties your child may be having (a youngster is generally considered constipated if they’ve had fewer than three bowel movements in a week), you need to get things moving again by amping up their water in-take. Swap acidic juices and creamy milks for the goodness of H20, as water is a natural solution to this sticky situation – aim for three glasses every day, four if you can, introducing a fibre rich snack as an accompaniment, such as their favourite fruit, to let the child know this is not a punishment, but a fun cure.

The Fibre War

Speaking of fibre, most of us, including adults, aren’t getting enough out of our diet. Fibres aren’t metabolised quickly like processed foods, sugars and fats, acting as an internal scrubber as it makes over our intestines and pushes those harmful bacteria’s caused by starchy foods and sugary treats down the tube, with the help of water. Instead of trying your children on the merits of bran, take the punch out of it by letting them feast on oranges and bananas. They won’t suspect a thing!

Move It, Move It Now

Surprisingly, how often things move is directly related to ah, how often we move! Pushing your kids outside for a couple of hours every day for physical play will assist them in dislodging those stubborn clogs in their digestive system – even if they’re playing a round of soccer in the street with friends until dark or you join them on a bike ride pre-dinner, a healthy life demands physical activity. If they love structured activities, why not sign them up for a team sport or a squad based sport like swimming or gymnastics?

The Case For Structure

Kids love organisation. Don’t mistake the statement to mean something else, for most will reject any notion they should be organised, but rules and guidelines? Most kids need them and meal times are no different. It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to squeeze in the demands of family life with an almost twenty four availability, especially as more workplaces expect you take work home with you, but your kids need you to set meal time boundaries. A no TV rule, coupled with permission to leave the table and a specific bedtime will build a sense of security they need to thrive.

Do you have any tips of your own to share with other dads and friends? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Victoria says:

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve had difficulties in the past whilst attending my child-minding charges; this information will really help me to relieve their little stomachs.
    Passing it on to my au pair friends!