1) Diet is essential
What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our body’s function and behavior. It is common for kids to start the day with a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate breakfast and follow it with highly processed, sugary snacks, then an unhealthy lunch and dinner. It is important for all children, especially those children with ADHD, to decrease the amount of sugar they are consuming. What we need to cut out first is cereal, breads, other highly processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes and colors. These chemicals are very toxic to the nervous system and make ADHD symptoms worse!
It is essential to add good amounts of protein throughout the day to keep blood sugar and insulin stable, instead of constantly spiking and crashing. Crashing after a huge insulin spike can lead to behaviors like agitation, depression, anger, and anxiety. Also, supplementation with fish oil to increase the good healthy omega-3 fats also helps improve mental focus, brain function, and mood stability.
2) Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
Good quality, uninterrupted sleep is a necessity, and children with ADHD often require more sleep than other children. Create a calming bedtime routine that will help them unwind from the day and combat fighting sleep and bedtimes.
ABSOLUTELY NO smart phones, tablets, gaming, or TV before bed. And by before, we are talking 1-2 hours before. These screens activate the body’s fight or flight response and alter melatonin levels, making it much more difficult to fall asleep.
Establish a calming bedtime routine with dim lights and soothing sounds. Try adding a bedtime massage to this routine, take coconut oil and massage your child’s hands or feet before bed to help them relax and fall asleep easier. The use of essential oils has been helpful for many families. Try adding some calming and relaxing essential oils, like lavender or Stress Away, in the oil for their massage or simply diffuse them throughout their room. These can help their bodies unwind and relax to ensure a good, restful night’s sleep.
3) Check Function
The most important thing you can do for your child with ADHD is to have their nervous system function properly checked by a chiropractor. The most essential reason for this check is to know is if there is an issue with their nervous system that is causing them to be stuck in a “fight or flight” or stress response. We commonly see in children with ADHD, if there is a biomechanical issue in their upper neck, this can cause irritation to the nervous system in that area. That irritation can then affect how the body responds to stress, it can cause an inappropriate response of being stuck in a chronic “fight or flight” response.
This is especially difficult for children with ADHD because it can cause them to be more reactive instead of focused, easily distracted, moody, and have trouble concentrating. Sound familiar?
What we see is once this irritation to the nervous system is corrected, their body can get out of that stress response and return to a more balanced and neutral state. Their body is restored to having a normal response to stress and the effects are noticed by everyone. Kids begin to focus and concentrate easier, their mood and behavior improve, and homework isn’t such a chore anymore.
So if your child is suffering with ADHD and you feel like you’re at your wits end because you’ve tried everything, please think about each of these areas. Make sure to check their diet, check sleep routines, and get their nervous system checked!