Parents are loading up their children with notebooks, pencils, pens, new clothes, backpacks and other items which are considered the essentials to go back to school.
Yet preparing the body and mind of children are really the most important essentials.
It is not unusual for sleep, stress, focus, anxiety, nutrition, fatigue and health issues to develop (like a cold) or escalate (like asthma or ADHD).
Let’s face it; today many children are experiencing difficulty focusing on what they are doing in and out of school. Some children have ADD / ADHD, others are multi-taskers, some are hypersensitive and easily distracted, or have worrying thoughts / anxiety and then there are those that have it all!
My suggestion is: Don’t wait until your child is half way through the school year and you have exhausted every medication the doctor has to offer! Start Now!
It is not unusual for sleep, stress, focus, anxiety, nutrition, fatigue and health issues to contribute, develop or escalate problems as the school year progresses.
Once again, now is the time to get them ready mentally and physically. Don’t wait until 2-3 months into the school year.
NUTRITION: First of all make sure they are getting proper nutrition before leaving for school. You know the routine, they can’t get out of bed and then are scrambling around trying to find their stuff they need to take with them and eating is the last thing on their mind. Even if you have food ready it’s 2 bites and out the door or a granola bar in hand. Lunch is a whole other issue that is challenging because you are not there to see what they are really eating (or not). At best try to make sure they are having some protein with their breakfast and lunch. Most meals today are lacking protein and are mostly made up of sugars in the form of sweets, fruits, juices, carbohydrates (cereals, toast, waffles, English muffins, pancakes etc.) which can increase stress reactions and lead to brain fatigue as the day goes on. Keep in mind dairy is a protein that is very mucus producing and constipating and therefore not a regular we encourage in the daily diet.
IMMUNE SYSTEM: Let’s face it, most school buildings are like giant Petri dishes of germ soup just waiting for your child to pick up and bring home. Beta glucan is a nutritional supplement that helps build a strong immune system and is safe for children. Studies have shown that Beta glucans help regulate the immune system become more efficient. Specifically, Beta glucans stimulate the activity of macrophages, which are versatile immune cells that ingest and demolish invading pathogens and stimulate other immune cells to attack. Beta Glucan 10 mg (Solaray) 1x day for children 4-7 years old (open capsule & mix with juice or applesauce), children 7-12 1 capsule 2 x day. Try to keep ½ hour from food if you can. Esberitox (Enzymatic Therapy) is a chewable herbal immune formula safe for children too. Teenagers can take Beta glucan 10 mg or higher and they can also take a vitamin herbal combination formula called Thymuplex (Enzymatic Therapy) to improve immune function. Vitamin D3 is also beneficial for most children. Ask their Doctor about testing their Vitamin D levels to see how much they need.
FOCUS / STRESS / ANXIETY: New environment, teachers, students, social status and expectations increase stress and anxiety. How many grownups still have nightmares about going back to school!
Theanine is one of our go to natural remedies for children (even toddlers) with focusing difficulties at our practice because it is an amazing non-addictive nutrient that helps calm the mind, increases focus and tones down anxiety without side effects, interactions with medications or addictiveness. It is a natural amino acid found in green tea.
There are numerous studies which conclude Theanine is beneficial for naturally calming and focusing the brain. Theanine calms what we call mind chatter, the thought- thought- thought stuff which distracts your child and keeps them from focusing. For some it can also calm the worrying thoughts that increase anxiety levels in social and academic situations. Particularly when working in groups with new people, giving presentations and taking tests. Another great thing about Theanine is it does not cause drowsiness (unless too much is taken) as compared to 5-HTP, passion flower or valerian.
Many children stay up too late (computers & cell phones), don’t get enough sleep or can’t sleep easily and don’t function too well the next day. Sleep is when the brain and body do most of the repair work and more important for children particularly because they are growing. Setting a sleep schedule is crucial. Although it does not cause sleepiness, Theanine can also help children who can’t get to sleep because they cannot relax their mind when they go to bed. When taken ½ hour or just before bed it calms the mind chatter and allows the mind to go to sleep rather than force it. Theanine also helps the brain to get into the deeper, healing phase of sleep without any grogginess the next morning.
Theanine dosage: For children 5-12 years old start with 100mg (open capsule if needed and mix into 1 oz juice or small amount of applesauce in the morning and if needed in the afternoon &/or before bed. Give it 1-2 weeks to see a noticeable difference and if needed slowly increase the dose. Some days you may need more or less depending on what has happened stress wise that day.
Magnesium is a mineral that can also help as it is a natural relaxer. Just be careful because it can also act as a stool softener, (which is great for constipation) so start with a minimum dosage. Melatonin can help some children, but it doesn’t work for everyone and sometimes it enhances dreaming/nightmares.
Remember getting a jump on school preparations is not just about pencils, notebooks and new clothes. Time to get your children’s mind and bodies prepared too!
Sometimes child focus & or behavior difficulties are more complicated such as excessive anxiety, sensory disorders and autism requires a more specific comprehensive diet, lifestyle change and supplement program. Contact our office (Tree of Life Wellness Center, Inc.) to schedule office or telephone health appointments at 508-336-4242.
To stay informed about how to stay healthy and well go to newsradiori.com and Listen Live to Holistic Healthline Radio every Saturday 8am-10am EST!
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center Seekonk MA 02771
Host Holistic Healthline.com
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