As a mom who was diagnosed with ADD as a young adult, it can be overwhelming at times to navigate and manage the symptoms, especially when you start to recognize them in your children. Fortunately for me, it’s been over a decade since I stopped using the medication recommended by my doctor and started seeking holistic alternatives to support my mind and body.
Are you a mama looking for natural ways to support and manage your child’s behavior? Have you tried everything suggested by your child’s pediatrician but found nothing to work long-term? Did you talk with your child’s teacher to ensure they have adequate amounts of “fidgets” while at school to keep them from being a distraction to others yet they still struggle?
No worries mama, I’ve got you covered. In this blog post, I will share some holistic ways to support your child with ADHD and ADD in hopes he/she will begin to experience lasting behavioral changes.
Create a Routine
It sounds pretty basic but children with ADHD and ADD thrive on structure and routine. By creating a daily schedule, you can help your child stay on track. Help them to develop a morning, after-school, and bedtime routine. This can include simple activities like setting a time for breakfast, homework, playtime, and lights-out. Ensure that your child is a part of building this routine, and fix those times together.
- Kids are often visual beings. Consider writing out their routine so they can see the scheduled activities or expectations for the day.
- Initiate downtime right before bed, dim the lights, and read a book together
Ensure Adequate Sleep
Sleep is crucial for everyone, and it’s no exception for children with ADHD and ADD. It's vital for children to sleep for the recommended hours based on their age. Quality sleep time enhances your child's overall mood and behavior and the ability to concentrate better. Ensure the bedroom environment is conducive to sleep; use soft lighting, calm colors, and comfortable temperatures, and avoid distractions.
- Consider turning off all electronics 30-60 minutes before bedtime, and not falling asleep to the TV, phone, or tablet.
- Apply calming essential oils to the bottoms of the feet, especially the big toe.
- Diffuse sleep-supporting essential oils in a diffuser utilizing aromatherapy throughout the night.
Physical activity is an excellent way for your child to release energy and focus on something that is not overly stimulating. Encourage outdoor activities like swimming, cycling, and sports that interest your child. If they prefer indoor activities, consider yoga, trampoline jumping, tumbling, and dance activities. Either way, make sure it involves consistent movement and regular enough exercise.
- Consider limiting screen time on electronics, video games, and television that tend to keep our children sedentary for long periods of time.
- Find workouts specifically for kids on YouTube making exercise fun and exciting!
Nutrition Is Key
Diet plays an essential role in behavior. It's natural to lean towards an unhealthy, quick fix like fast foods, processed foods, and sugars, which are often not ideal for children with ADHD or ADD. Food allergies or food reactions may push your child to uncomfortable physical states which may affect their ability to concentrate, be attentive, or sit at rest comfortably.
Instead, be mindful of your meals, focus on low glycemic index foods, and high protein, and include plenty of green leafy vegetables and fruits. Ensure they're hydrated throughout the day by drinking water and avoiding caffeinated or sugary drinks.
- Consider eliminating ANY foods with artificial colors, specifically RED & BLUE dyes.
- Consider having your child tested for food sensitivities (not just allergies)
- Specifically, request a micronutrient panel that will reveal any nutritional deficiencies
Explore Holistic Therapies
There are plenty of non-medicinal ways to manage ADHD and ADD. You may wish to consider mindfulness, meditation, chiropractic care, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Talk to your child’s therapist or pediatrician or seek an integrative health professional who can guide you on additional holistic health alternatives. I also love recommending The Natural Approach to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): Drug-free Ways to Treat the Roots of this Childhood Epidemic, by Dr. Ronald L. Hoffman, M.D. It's less than 50 pages and full of great information.
- Detox your home environment by working to remove chemicals and toxins that create a toxic environment, and hormonal imbalances and disrupt the endocrine system.
- Chemicals and toxins can also accumulate in the brain and create unnecessary imbalances, forgetfulness, and overstimulation.
If you haven’t started using essential oils for more than just making your house smell good, then you are really missing out on the ENORMOUS therapeutic benefits they offer for parents and kids alike. I seriously don’t know how to “mom” without them.
Parenting a child with ADHD and ADD can be overwhelming, but it's vital to remember you are not alone. By implementing these holistic techniques, you will provide your child the support they need and help them to thrive. Encourage and support your child in their strengths, stay focused on positive reinforcement, and affirm them with praise and recognition, as it will help to build a motivated, resilient, and positive-minded child. Remember, the best way to support your child is by being present, supportive, compassionate, and patient.
What have you tried already or what seems to be your biggest struggle?