LIVEWELL MINUTE: Children and Constipation
Constipation is a very common problem among children and usually occurs because the child has a painful bowel movement, not enough fluid or fiber in their diet, or a factor in their environment.
Jennifer Hill, Nurse Practitioner, Blank Children’s Hospital says, “Everyone has a different definition of constipation so you need to know what is meant by constipation and its associated symptoms. Are they having infrequent bowel movements? Soiling? Diarrhea? Having three or less bowel movements in a week or having hard, dry and/or large stools is a common sign of constipation.”
Parents can help to prevent constipation by allowing for an unhurried, pleasant toileting experience several times per day. After a meal and before bedtime, have your child sit on the toilet. The time he or she should sit there depends on their age; approximately one minute for each year of age up to five minutes. During this time have them read a book, sing songs, or talk about their day.
Hill says, “It’s important to be familiar with your child’s stooling results. If you believe that constipation is a concern. Know the frequency, size, associated pain and when and where the stooling is occurring. Your child may be scared to use the restroom at school or be embarrassed of making noises, which can lead to further problems.”