Maintaining focus in the classroom
Summer for any school-aged child can be fun and exciting. But like all good things, summer breaks do come to an end. Going back to school, managing homework and due dates can be quite an adjustment. As parents, how can we make sure our kids are focused in the classroom?
Fluctuating blood sugar levels may be a culprit. Children starting their morning with a high carbohydrate meal, like sugary cereals, can not sustain stable blood sugar until lunch. This dip causes fatigue and poor concentration. Foods high in protein and fiber can help keep these levels balanced. Quick morning meals can include eggs, beans, nuts, nut butter, or quinoa. The writers of verywellfamily.com have created a great list of proteins for children and their needs based on age.
If your child is having trouble focusing after lunch, they might be sensitive to something they ate. Food sensitivities and allergies can contribute to inattention. A simple blood test ordered by your physician can determine food allergies and sensitivities. Artificial coloring and preservatives can be the biggest offenders. Avoiding foods with synthetic dyes can help stave off the after-lunch challenges of staying focused.
A nutrient-rich diet is essential for anyone, but especially for developing kids. Diets with lots of dark, leafy greens: spinach, kale, chard, or collards, can lead to improvements in concentration. Iron deficiency, the most common nutrient deficiency in children, can be responsible for decreased alertness.
Having a regular bedtime with at least eight hours of sleep improves alertness and concentration. Along with sleep, physical activity has its benefits. Exercises that raise the heart rate improve blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, leading to improved mood and focus. The Sleep Foundation has a list of strategies to help improve sleep in children.
Regular visits with a naturopathic physician can determine if a more serious problem exists. A physical exam and blood work can help rule out any of the many causes of inattention and point parents in the right direction.
Dr. Nichole Shiffler is a naturopathic primary care physician and medical director of Be Well Medical Primary Care. Dr. Shiffler focuses her practice in women's and pediatric medicine. Dr. Shiffler also has an extensive history of treating irregular menstrual cycles, thyroid disease, menopause, acne, PCOS, and diabetes. She utilizes nutrition and herbal medicine to deliver an effective treatment plan to her patients. Dr. Shiffler is available for patient care at Be Well Medical Primary Care. Call (480) 219-9900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shiffler.