Congratulations kiddos (and parents) for making it through the first week of school!!!!
Hopefully it concluded without too many challenges. I know that most children are ecstatic to reconnect with friends, meet their new teacher and jump back into learning! Or at least that was my experience – I loved school as a child but eventually I discovered that there was such a thing as too much homework, extracurricular activities and expectations.
The Back to School Blues start to kick in as September rolls on and the excitement wears off and learning requires more focus.
To counter this, I would like to share my top 3 tips and strategies to help children reduce stress, improve their focus and brain function to have their absolute best school year yet!
Tip 1: Get a good Gut feeling
Gut health is the foundation of a child’s health, influencing their immune system and brain function. Did you know, we have a mini brain in our gut? The brains levels of serotonin (feel good brain chemical) are controlled by the amount of bacteria in the gut. Serotonin influences mood, stress response and mental clarity. A healthy gut is also important for creating vitamins, which travel to the brain to strengthen the nervous system.
Encouraging your children to eat whole foods, fibre and fruits and vegetables of all colours of the rainbow is a great way to build that healthy gut! I love including smoothies to children’s breakfasts, as they are great ways to include fruits and vegetables in a delicious way. You can even add some spinach and make it a hulk smoothie! It’s equally as important to avoid packaged foods that contain high amount of sugar, food dyes and preservatives.
These few and simple changes will go a long way in improving your child’s gut, immune and brain functions.
Tip 2: Move it, Move it!
My kinesiology background never lets me forget the immense power of exercise! Without getting too science-y, when we exercise our brains release chemicals that make us feel happy, alert and joyful. Research has shown that regular exercise is one of the most effect ways to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood all while improving self-esteem and focus. Encouraging children to take part in extracurricular activities that they enjoy, and that get them moving, is an excellent way to build confidence and improve their performance in the classroom. This is a great opportunity to model a healthy lifestyle for your children. Help your children by setting a positive example and exercising yourself! Children shouldn’t be sedentary for more than 2 hours and neither should you, so go enjoy the outdoors and get moving… as a family!
Tip 3: Easy as ZZZ’s
Sleep may sounds like a no brainer here, but I am always surprised by the number of children I see who aren’t sleeping well. Sleep is important for healthy brain function so kids can focus at school, have energy to engage in physical activities and to feel joyous about their day while still having some left over for brain development. If your child is have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up feeling tired and sluggish, your naturopathic doctor can help by completinga full assessment to be sure there are no underlying concerns.
ALL children deserve to feel happy and joyful instead of stressed and anxious. School should be a source of confidence and curiosity, not stress and anxiety.
For more tips and strategies on optimizing your child’s mental health, please join me LIVE for my Lets talk Children’s Mental Health seminar in Guelph. Whether they are struggling with chronic school stress or are anxious about going to school, have been diagnosed with a ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders or pediatric anxiety and depression, this seminar will be full of tips strategies you can implement to help your child, naturally.
>> > TO PRE-REGISTER FOR THIS SEMINAR AND FOR ALL THE DETAILS, CLICK HERE