After spring break, you might notice your child struggling to get “back to the grind” in school. He or she might find it hard to focus on work instead of sunshine, playtime, and friends.
Unfortunately, ADHD and anxiety are common in our children. Lack of focus and impulsivity are on the rise, too. However, even children without these symptoms can become restless and less interested in school as they anticipate summer vacation.
There are many natural ways to improve focus, efficiency, ambition and concentration for the last few months of school. Here is our Natural Focus Checklist for your child!
Natural Focus Checklist for the End of the School Year
- Food is medicine! Pack lunches with unprocessed, clean food. Provide a form of protein, a fat and colorful fruits and veggies. Nutrients from these foods provide the essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that help muscles, the brain and the immune system to function optimally.
- See your pediatrician for nutrition testing. Your holistic pediatrician can test for toxins, allergies, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidant levels, ability to digest sugar and wheat, neurotransmitter levels, hormones, stress cortisol levels, and more.
- With the approval of your functional pediatrician, place your child on supplements known to help brain function. These include: Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2, Omega 3 essential fatty acids, Vitamin C as a natural anti-histamine, glutamine to coat the gut for the immune system, glutathione and alpha lipoic acid for brain anti-oxidants, magnesium and L-Theanine to calm the brain and help with sleep.
- Exercise to rest the brain and increase blood flow! When kids burn up their physical energy, focus will return.
- Take breaks, even if they are short. Get outside to feel the sun on your skin and the ground beneath your feet. These activities are grounding and help with relaxation and focus.
- Consider relaxation therapy before homework. Even a three-minute deep breathing session can lower cortisol to 1/10 the level before relaxation. Low cortisol allows much better ability to focus, learn and be still.
- Make sure your child has healthy eyes and good vision. If you have any concerns, see an eye doctor.
- If you suspect a visual or auditory processing problem, or see problems in a very specific field of learning, your holistic pediatrician can refer your child to a learning center for testing.
- Talk to your child’s teacher. Ask for specific examples of days and times your child performed poorly. The history of one small incident can uncover the root cause or lead to a diagnosis.
- Do not discount the importance of sleep. The brain needs 10-12 hours of sleep in older children. Sleep is a time to rest the brain, refresh the brain cells and grow new ones.
- Eat as a family and talk face-to-face. This is the only real form of communication.
- Limit electronics (anything with a screen) to one to two hours per day. Most importantly, keep all electronics out of the bedroom at night. These screens contain billions of flashing lights that inhibit the release of melatonin and do not allow the child to become sleepy naturally. Electronics also excite certain parts of the brain, leaving behind the need for the frontal lobe or learning center to connect with all other parts of the brain.
- If your child is stressed, massage her back or neck with lavender oil (diluted) to relax her mind and body.
- Focus on the positive. Praise progress! Manage mistakes as learning opportunities. Practice patience and delayed gratification. Reflect, anticipate, and rehearse stressful situations.
If these tips don’t help, do not waste more than a month on them. ADHD and anxiety can be diagnosed by some pediatricians as well as psychologists, psychiatrists and developmental pediatricians.
Of course, our integrative pediatricians specialize in ADHD, anxiety, processing disorders, learning disorders, autism, and other complex conditions.