Do children need to take nutritional supplements?

Source: Senior Dietitian, Ng Yiu Fun

Many parents ask me, “Does my child need to take supplements?” For example, would fish oil or DHA be better for him? I have children myself, and I don’t let them take any supplements. But some parents say, “Is it really smarter to take supplements?”

In fact, if you have a balanced diet, you don’t need any supplements. Why? For example, if you take too much fish oil, it will have an excessive blood-thinning effect, and you will easily bleed out. So we say that if you take too much fish oil, it may not be good for your child.

We may have to figure out how to add a little bit of fish to our food. For example, if he doesn’t like eating fish, we can dip the fish in batter and bake it to make it feel crispy and tasty. Or when cooking spaghetti, you can add some crustaceans, such as clams, which are easy for children to absorb. Also, simple foods such as seaweed have ingredients that make them smarter.

As for the parents, they may think that if they take more calcium supplements, their children will grow taller. This is also not necessary, because if you take too many calcium tablets, it will be very easy to give him kidney stones. We can let children drink milk, tofu, or soy milk to help them absorb calcium without the need for special supplements.


 Jul-Aug 2024 Reminder 

Parents Zone

Taking medicine: Bitterness before eating

Written by: Doctor Cheung Kit

If a child is seriously ill, I think the parents’ suffering is also significant. This is because, in addition to taking the child to see a doctor and taking time off to care for the child, they also worry about giving the child medication. Therefore, the real battle often begins after returning home from the doctor. There is a systematic approach to administering medication to children, and parents can learn how to do it.

First, the initial form of medication that children encounter is liquid. Liquid medication can be divided into two types: solution and suspension. The former is a watery preparation, often containing a small amount of alcohol, while the latter does not contain alcohol but has granular suspended particles, which can be felt in the throat. Both types are equally effective and have their supporters. Doctors generally have both types of medication available.


Due to the medicinal taste, children do not like it. If you plan to add the medicine to a flavored drink to mask the taste, it generally fails because children are very likely to notice. Furthermore, children have a natural aversion to nausea, so when they feel the discomfort of the medicine in their throat, they may vomit it out. There is no distinction between taking children’s medicine on an empty stomach or after a meal. However, some medicines may react with food, for example, tetracycline and erythromycin in antibiotics may interact with milk, affecting their effectiveness.

As for pills or capsule medication, it’s better to wait until the child is a little older to try them. In theory, both are equally effective compared to liquid medicine. However, generally, cough syrups contain a variety of functional ingredients, making them more effective. Therefore, adults also consider prescription cough syrups. As for the age at which prescription pills can be taken, it depends on the child’s acceptance, as some adults may not even swallow pills. So, as parents, how can we make the process of administering medication less of a chore?

● Try not to force the child to swallow the medicine.

● Involve the child in the process of taking the medicine as early as possible, such as getting the medicine, pouring the liquid, and eventually self-administering with a spoon.

● If the child vomits heavily within half an hour of taking the medicine, you can administer another dose.

● It’s best not to mix the medicine with milk, as if the child doesn’t finish the milk, they won’t get the full dose of the medicine.

● Encourage the child to try swallowing pills (no age limit), starting with a small one.

● Suppositories are indeed effective for certain oral medications. However, for many sensible children, this is a “painful” experience and can lead to negative associations, so it’s best to avoid it if possible.

● Parents should also have a positive attitude towards taking medicine: getting sick requires taking medicine, and taking medicine is not a chore.


We hope that all parents will not be troubled by their children taking medicine.

Children grow up to be fed instead. How can parents break it down?

Source: Psychotherapist, Lee Wai Tong
The parents begin feeding the baby milk and gradually introduce paste from the time the baby is born. Then children can start to hold their own utensils and eat on their own, one bite at a time while watching them grow up. But when the children reach the age of 6 to 7, they will suddenly ask their parents to feed them. What is the reason for this? How can this be resolved?
Whenever children grow up, their parents are happy, especially when their children eat. In the past, they had to be fed by their parents, but later they learned to use utensils and eat by themselves, which was originally a very happy thing. However, many parents do not understand that when children can eat on their own, they begin to ask their parents to feed them. This is because the intimacy of parental feeding feels good and may make children want to be fed.

When children are young, it is fun for parents to feed them, but when children grow up, it is a headache for parents if they still want to be fed halfway through a meal. We don’t want to spoil the atmosphere of the meal because of the feeding problem, so we need to learn that when children ask to be fed in the middle of a meal, we can solve the problem in the following ways:

Parents can say to their children, “If you take two more bites of rice, mommy and daddy will start feeding.” The next time the same thing happens, say, “If you eat three more bites, mommy and daddy will start feeding,” gradually shorten the time of parental feeding, and gradually extend the time of children eating on their own. Later on, there is a chance to finally just feed him a bite to maintain the intimacy of the parent-child relationship but also to make the eating atmosphere more interesting.

Four behaviors that damage the parent-child relationship

Source: Senior Parenting Expert, Bally

Many parents often ask, “Why is the child so disobedient?” “Why does he hate me so much?” or “He is ignoring me more and more.” In fact, there are four types of behaviors that, over time, will cause our children to despise themselves. Many of the parents that I have met in my day-to-day life often unconsciously say or do things that make their children hate themselves. This is what parents do not notice.

First, comparison. We frequently ask children, “Why are you like this?” “Your younger brother is not like you; he is very neat,” and “look at the students next to me; they listen to their parents. “When we often express ourselves in a “comparison” manner, children will feel disgusted when they hear their mother’s voice.

Secondly, when children do something wrong, parents often overlook the motives behind their behavior. When we find out that a child is doing something wrong, we should first understand what the child is trying to accomplish with the behavior. Do not rule out that they are trying to do something right. Maybe he wants to pour a glass of water for his parents or his brother, or he is not doing his homework well, but in fact, he is doing his best and is just mentally tired.


When he is not doing well, we can first praise his behavior by saying, “Thanks; I know you are nice and want to pour water for us, but don’t spill water again.” “It’s dangerous,” or “Don’t walk so fast.” After we praise the child, he will understand that he is doing the right thing, and then he will listen to his parent’s advice and improve.

Third, parents should pay attention to the end of the day if, in fact, they are full of negative energy and bring emotions into the home. When parents see that their children are not behaving in a satisfactory manner, they may take out their emotions on them in a series of ways. This is not fair to the child, who may have made only a few mistakes but is being blamed for a series of them.

Fourth, parents should be very careful that expressions of anger will misinform their children with inaccurate information. For example, “If you do this, you might not be my son.” When we mistakenly use such an aggressive word, it can be very harmful to the child.


Parents should never commit these four behaviors while children are growing up, or they will hate their parents from an early age.


May-Jun 2024 Reminder 

Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone

Since childhood, children have learned the great method of storage and how to pack up toys without difficulty

Source:Taiwan Professional organizing advisor, Yu Zhi Lin

One of the parents’ nightmares is working hard to pack up the toys every night, but the next morning they were scattered all over the floor again. Pack up your stuff. How can parents teach their children to pack up their toys?

We decide how big the storage box should be based on the child’s age, which is about 1 to 2 years old. To prevent children from putting toys in their mouths, toys at this time are usually larger, so we need a slightly larger storage box. When children are younger, our standards can be very low, mainly to let them know that they need to clean up after playing with toys, pack them up in the storage box, and put all the toys in it. At this age, we need to train them to be tidy.

By the time children are a little older, about 3 to 5 years old, they can already have a preliminary classification. Know that there are different types of toys. At that time, the storage box does not have to be so big, we can change a smaller storage box, according to the different types of toys a little classification. We adjust the rules of the game a little higher; you can paste some classification labels outside the box, with patterns, colors, or word cards, so that children can easily identify. For example, a car, with a car pattern or a word card “Car”, so that children can slowly learn to remember this classification.

When children go to elementary school, they will have their own ideas and know what to put away where, so our storage box can become smaller. Then we can store many small things for children, such as little girls’ ornaments, small beads, and accessories for Barbie dolls. We can also use such a small box to sort, because after such a long time of training, children will find it very natural to clean up, and parents will also feel very relaxed.

What kind of rice is suitable for children’s eating?

Source: Founder of Kat-Spirit Nutrition Health Centre, Senior Nutritionist, Ng Yiu Fun

In modern society, we all pay much attention to the nutrition of children. What type of rice will provide more nutrition to children, and will they be willing to eat it? We often cook brown rice or red rice for children to eat, but they do not like it very much. The main reason is that it takes longer to chew or is harder, so they can’t swallow it after chewing for a long time.

This rice may even cause stomach aches in adults. Children’s digestive abilities are not as good as adults’, so we are worried that they may have stomach aches. Nowadays, many people do not eat white rice; they may switch to germ rice, millet rice, or oatmeal rice, and among them, I would recommend millet rice the most!

Source: Founder of Kat-Spirit Nutrition Health Centre, Senior Nutritionist, Ng Yiu Fun

In modern society, we all pay much attention to the nutrition of children. What type of rice will provide more nutrition to children, and will they be willing to eat it? We often cook brown rice or red rice for children to eat, but they do not like it very much. The main reason is that it takes longer to chew or is harder, so they can’t swallow it after chewing for a long time.

This rice may even cause stomach aches in adults. Children’s digestive abilities are not as good as adults’, so we are worried that they may have stomach aches. Nowadays, many people do not eat white rice; they may switch to germ rice, millet rice, or oatmeal rice, and among them, I would recommend millet rice the most!

I don’t recommend ten-grain rice for children, as their stomachs are more delicate, and the rice may need to be soaked overnight before it becomes soft. They may feel like there are many different kinds of rice in it and not like it. Of course, some children are more curious and may like it. But many children are accustomed to eating regular food when they are small and will only try different foods when they grow up. We may wait until they are ten or eight years old before giving ten-grain rice. However, we still need to soak it before boiling it with other rice. Otherwise, even if it is healthy, it will cause stomach aches.

Some people will put red beans in; how exactly do we put them in? We have to pre-soak the red beans until they are soft, or even boil them until they are soft, before cooking them with rice. In fact, red bean rice is very nutritious; for example, Japanese like eating red bean rice. Also, there are other types of rice, like sweet potato rice, corn rice, and chestnut rice, which is suitable for eating in autumn. Different combinations make eating rice more interesting than just plain white rice. Chestnuts are high in calcium and iron to enhance bone growth and help prevent anemia, and people will be more energetic and not so easily fatigued.

Can children strengthen their limb muscles at home?

Source: Registered Physiotherapist, Hui Wing Yee

Children have a heavy academic workload and spend more time at home, losing many opportunities to exercise. However, the development of children’s limb muscles is very important, and some stretching exercises for the waist and upper limbs can be done at home.

The first set of exercises is the lunge and twist, which helps to exercise the core muscles and lower limb muscles. First, open your feet to hip width, place your hands on both sides of your body, step out with your right foot to maintain a 90-degree angle on both knees, open your hands with palms facing forward, slowly turn to the right, and hold for two seconds. Then return to the original position with hands hanging down, repeating on both sides ten times.


The second set of exercises is quadruped limb raises. These exercises help strengthen our back and limb muscles. If possible, use a yoga mat to avoid putting pressure on your knees. First, start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Lift your right hand and left leg straight out, creating a horizontal line. Tighten your back and abdominal muscles, hold for two seconds, then switch to your left hand and right leg. Alternate between both sides for a total of ten reps.

What constitutes a language development delay in a child?

Source: Speech Therapist, Mok Yee Tuen

Typically, babies start making sounds as soon as they are born, such as different crying sounds to express their demands. From 4 to 8 months, they start babbling, which is part of the language preparation period. Children actually go through a ladder of language development, starting with just learning single words and ending with being able to tell stories with their words.

Babies from 9 months to 1 year generally start producing their first meaningful word, such as “ba,”  “ma,” or “ball ball.” From 1 to 2 years old, their understanding and vocabulary expression increase greatly, with the accumulation of single words forming two-word phrases, such as “mommy drink” and “eat bun bun.”

From 2 to 3 years old, children generally speak in longer sentences and can express different needs. For example, they like to add a word to the two-word phrases, forming three-word combinations, such as “Daddy eat bun” and “I want grandma.” Some children start using adjectives, such as “sister eats a big apple.”

Young children generally recognize more different sentences and start using conjunctions after 3 and a half years old, and by 5 years old, they slowly understand how to combine different sentences and use more conjunctions and start to narrate things logically, that is, by telling stories.

In fact, the language development of young children is slightly different for each person, but through empirical research, we also have some important reference indicators to see if a child may have a speech delay.

The first is that there are no words at 2 years old.

Second, no sentences appear before the age of three.

The third is that speech is unclear and hard to understand after 3 years old,

Fourth, sentences are still unclear after 5 years old.

If the child is not speaking more and more as they grow, parents should seek the help of a professional to assess and train them as soon as possible.