Keeping Kids Focused

Many young kids have trouble sitting still and staying focused. Anyone who has taken the leap into parenting or teaching children knows that keeping kids attentive, engaged, and on task can be an uphill battle at times. They may have difficulty waiting their turn, become easily distracted by their environment and make careless mistakes. This becomes even more apparent if your child is struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. Current research into the interaction of diet and behavior is focused primarily on the roles that nutritional deficiency and food sensitivities play in the chemistry of behavior.

Food Sensitivities

"One man's food is another man's poison" is an old saying, which simply states that different people can have very different reactions to exactly the same food, just because something is healthy doesn’t mean its good for you. Food sensitivity is an immune system response to a food that the body believes is harmful, and every time we eat that food, our immune system is compromised. So you become commonly sensitive to the things you eat all the time, which is no surprise, then that foods such as eggs, corn, soy, gluten and dairy tend to be at the top of the list! I would suggest maybe starting off and cutting out just one or courageously two of these food items from your kids diet.

 

Sugar

Have you ever noticed that foods impact child’s behavior? Recall a birthday cake extravaganza with a spectacular meltdown? Lunchtime chocolate treats that turned into a bedtime struggle? Why does this happen? Sugar!  In modest amounts, sugar can have a healthy place in a child's diet but most parents have no idea how much sugar their kids are actually eating, and how likely they are addicted to it. Breakfast cereals, processed foods, junk foods, pasta sauces, cakes, chocolates, sweets, fizzy drinks and fruit juices are all considered high in sugar. The problem is that Sugar has too many calories and no nutrients and this sets up a child for nutritional deficiencies.

 

Nutrients

There is a clear connection between body and mind was more important than conventional psychiatry assumed. You are what you eat and these nutrients like magnesium, amino acids, iron, zinc and vitamins help build chemical messengers for the brain that will help keep your child focused on tasks! So get out the colors, the vegetables and plan for a healthy breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

Research shows that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that's been shown to boost a baby's brain development, is good for children of all ages. It’s shown an increase in IQ, better hand eye coordination and a reduction in the risk of ADHD. A deficiency in essential fatty acids has been linked to dry skin, dry hair, dandruff, brittle nails and something called follicular keratosis. DHA easily becomes used up in the presence of oxygen, and 25% of our oxygen is utilized in our brain, that’s why it’s so important for us. Children are literally burning it up!

 

Exercise

Keeping children fully engaged in the classroom is not easy but a new technique incorporating high-intensity interval training may be the answer. Canadian researchers at Queen's University found that four is the magic number. Just four minutes of physical activity has been shown to greatly reduce fidgeting and inattentiveness for second and fourth grade students. They're calling the quick spurts FUNtervals.