To help prevent constipation in children:

  • Offer your child high-fiber foods. Include in your child's diet high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grain cereals and breads. If your child isn't used to a high-fiber diet, start by adding just several grams of fiber a day to prevent gas and bloating.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Water is often the best.
  • Promote physical activity. Regular physical activity helps stimulate normal bowel function.
  • Create a toilet routine. Regularly set aside time after meals for your child to use the toilet. If necessary, provide a footstool so that your child is comfortable sitting on the toilet and has enough leverage to release a stool.
  • Remind your child to heed nature's call. Some children get so wrapped up in the activity at hand that they ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Postponing the event can lead to problems in the long run, however.
  • Review medications. If your child is taking a medication that causes constipation, ask his or her doctor about other options.
Aug. 23, 2013

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