It's back to school time! That time of year when children must adjust to having a regular routine five days a week. Having to be in school a number of hours each day, focusing during classes and coming home to spend more time on homework can be a great challenge for any child (and their parents). Add all of that stress on a child with a learning disability such as ADD, ADHD or dyslexia, this can be especially challenging.
For many young children, having an abundance of energy can pose challenges in the classroom for the children and the teacher. Children can learn in different ways, some finding it harder to sit and pay attention, others needing to doodle, and some with learning disabilities that pose extra challenges. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with or without hyperactivity as well as children with Dyslexia need extra support to make their school days happier and more fulfilling.
Here are some things to consider as the first day of school approaches:
Children's brains and bodies need certain nutrients to get going in the morning. A lack of proper nutrition will lead to fatigue, brain fog and poor focus during school. Some of these nutrients include essential fats for proper brain functioning, complex carbohydrates for energy and brain power and good quality protein for sustained focus and physical energy. A great breakfast could be oatmeal with fruit and nuts or nut butter, or granola with greek yogurt, berries and eggs.
Packing lunches and snacks should have the same consideration. Healthy options could include fruits and vegetables, hummus and crackers, nuts (if permitted), seeds, and probiotic yogurt or kefir. Staying away from pre-packaged and processed foods is recommended, as they often contain artificial ingredients and additives. Preparing ingredients ahead of time can be very helpful for busy parents. Spending a little time Sunday chopping fresh veggies and fruits and organizing a weekly lunch meal plan can save time, money and stress!
Children with poor digestion often do not absorb nutrients properly. Lack of proper nutrient absorption may cause essential nutrient deficiencies which leads to several issues including poor concentration and focus. It may also lead to aggressive behavior and hyperactivity. Signs of poor digestion include constipation, diarrhea or complaints of tummy aches and fatigue. It can be helpful for parents to ask their children about their digestive habits and to educate them on what is "normal" and what is not.
Children and adolescents between the ages of five and eighteen need at least 8 to 10 hours of restful sleep each night. Proper sleep hygiene includes no stimulating behaviour including television and electronics at least an hour before bed. Healthy bedtime routines include brushing teeth and getting changed into pajamas early, with calming behaviour such as storytelling or reading just before sleep. Melatonin, the hormone that promotes restful sleep, is only produced in complete darkness, so minimizing night lights is recommended for more quality sleep.
Children are naturally full of energy. Children with ADHD find it especially difficult managing their energy and behaviour so restlessness can cause distractions and frustration in the classroom and at home . Talking to and encouraging teachers to let those children run a few laps before sitting in class, or doing jumping jacks, may be a great way to help them use up some of that excess energy in order to sit down and focus better. Making sure children get physical activity each and every day is a great way to expend energy and even allow for better eating and sleep habits.
Steps for Success
These are only a few of the possible factors that may affect your child's behaviour and aggravate those with learning disabilities. Implementing some of the tips above may help tremendously with your children's health and performance at school and have the kids, teachers and parents happy, healthy and safe!
For additional help and a more thorough assessment, ask your Naturopathic Doctor! They can assess the physical health and review each individual and offer suggestions and remedies to ensure each child gets the best care possible!