Now that we are back into the full swing of things this fall, are you noticing daily that your children are having trouble focusing, fidgeting, or are inattentive? Has their teacher also expressed concern? Here are some things that can be done to make sure that your children are prepared to have a successful day.
Thirty minutes of morning aerobic activities before school, even jump-roping or running around, can help children be more attentive and less moody throughout the school day. Studies have shown an improvement of these behaviors in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; however short bursts of physical activity are essential to help all children focus and prepare for the day.
What we put into our bodies has a profound effect on how we function. While diet changes may not be the complete solution for all children, it should always be the first place we start. Both doctors and teachers have seen a significant reduction of ADHD symptoms in children when diet changes were made. It is vitally important that young growing minds and bodies get sufficient energy and nutrition throughout the day.
Here are some simple tips to remember when serving your children breakfast or packing their lunches.
- Cut Out Preservatives and Food Additives – Know what is in your food. Can you read and understand everything in the ingredient list? Are their more than eight ingredients listed? Processed and packaged foods are packed with hidden additives and preservatives. Their use has been linked to ADD and ADHD symptoms in children. Another artificial enhancer commonly found in packaged or prepared foods is MSG – Monosodium Glutamate and is well known for causing headaches, stomach aches, and hyperactivity in children. All of these additives can be easily avoided by making the shift from packaged to freshly prepared foods.
- Reduce Sugar Intake– Make sure lunches are not packed with sugary sweets, pastries, sweetened juices, sodas, or candies. Do your kids still look forward to finishing their lunch off with a treat? Switch to healthy sugars. Look for things sweetened with raw honey, agave nectar, or pure maple syrup. Try healthier alternative sweeteners, when needed, like Stevia or sugar alcohols such as erythritol and xylitol.
- Ramp Up Healthy Fats and Proteins – Including a source of protein in every meal, especially breakfast, will help to level blood sugar spikes and prevent hunger between meals. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential to include in our diets and are necessary for proper brain development. Omega-3 enriched eggs, wild salmon, and grass fed meats are great sources. Try including nuts and seeds, beans, avocados, and winter squash in your diet this fall.
Snack Idea! – Have your children try almond butter with apple slices or banana.
Do you know if your child have any food intolerances? Food intolerances create toxic byproducts because the food is not digested and can cause many health problems. Help your child feel their best by helping them avoid their food intolerances so they can function optimally while at school and after. If you or anyone you know is worried that their family may have unknown food intolerances, testing is offered here in our office.
A good night’s rest is also important to making sure your child is alert and active at school. Establish a bedtime routine starting after dinner by helping your children avoid snacking on sweets and the use of stimulating electronics before bed. Include calming activities such as reading books, bath time or listening to calming music. Make sure this routines takes place at about the same time every night for consistency, and aim for 8 hours of sleep for the older kids, and up to 10-11 hours a night for younger children.