How to treat your child's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) naturally
Finding out that your child has been diagnosed with ADHD can be very stressful for parents. Naturally, you want to do what's best for your child, and when your doctor prescribes medication to help treat your child's ADHD, many parents don't question this, or look further into the safety and side effects of these drugs!
Common drugs that are prescribed to treat ADHD include Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and Focalin, just to name a few. These drugs are categorised as stimulants - amphetamine or methylphenidate - and an increasing number of people are shying away from them these days! Evidence to suggest that these stimulants come with an array of side effects are pushing many parents to treat their child's ADHD naturally, and stay away from prescribed medication. Side effects of ADHD drugs include anxiety, agitation, irritability, moodiness, insomnia, decreased appetite, weight fluctuations, stomach aches, headaches and tics.
The good news is, that there are various natural remedies and lifestyle changes that you can apply to your child's life that can help manage your child's ADHD in a healthy, safe way!
Our Clinical Psychologist, Michele Carelse, (through her years of experience helping children and their parents cope better with ADD/ADHD) has laid out six simple tips below, that can help treat your child's ADHD naturally! According to Michele, psychiatric medication for ADHD and ADD has its place but should always be the last resort after all other treatment options and avenues have been thoroughly explored.
Did you know that diet can play a very important role in improving concentration and reducing hyperactivity in ADHD children? While there's no evidence that suggests ADHD is caused by a bad diet, many studies have found that nutrition can help children with ADHD do better in school!
Treat your child's ADHD naturally by including the following elements into their daily diet:
It is also important to realise that certain foods or food aditives can increase hyperactivity in some children. The worst culprits are:
- Foods, snacks and drinks with a high sugar content
- Foods, snacks and drinks with added colourants (especially Tartrazine) and artificial flavouring
- Foods, snacks and drinks with preservatives
Read the full article HERE, that looks at helpful ways to manage your child’s ADHD by eliminating or including certain foods and supplements.
Conventional treatment of hyperactivity and ADHD usually involves prescribed psycho-stimulating drugs (like Ritalin and Concerta). Although these drugs can be effective in the short term, most of the drugs prescribed for hyperactivity and ADHD are addictive and may come with unwanted side effects. This means that they should be a last resort, after other interventions have failed, rather than the first thing recommended by a doctor!
Treat your child's ADHD with the following natural remedies:
- BrightSpark is a natural ADHD remedy for hyperactivity and behavioural problems in children. It's a safe and non-addictive remedy that reduces restlessness, fidgeting, impulsive behaviour and tics, while improving co-operative behaviour and their ability to concentrate and stay on task.
- Although it is very effective in its own right, BrightSpark for hyperactive children has been formulated for use along with Focus Formula, a herbal remedy for ADHD to support brain health, improved concentration and mental clarity. It is highly recommended that these two remedies for ADHD be used together for best results!
- Kids who suffer from ADHD often feel isolated and 'different' from others. They may feel insecure about their ADHD and feel degraded when they get reprimanded for not behaving well in class or struggling to concentrate. MindSoothe Jr acts as a natural antidepressant! It improves the confidence and mood of children who suffer from anxiety and self esteem problems. It also helps to reduce anger, mood swings and oppositional behavior!
- Kali Phos is a tissue salt that assist with concentration, calm and nervous system health.
Restrict your child's screen time
While a child who suffers from ADHD may have extreme trouble with concentration and focus, you'll often find that they have NO problem directing their attention to social media, television, mobile games, texting and PlayStation for hours on end! Electronic devices provide an endless supply of feedback and enticements that stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, which can be addictive for anybody! However, kids with ADHD are at higher risk for becoming dependent on their device.
It's important for parents to limit their children's screen time to a maximum of an hour per day! Studies have linked excessive screen time to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and low self-esteem (which a child who suffers from ADHD may already have). Help your child combat their anxiety, low self-esteem and moods with MindSoothe Jr, our natural antidepressant for children!
Encourage your child to play outside as often as possible. Amazingly (but not surprisingly), kids with ADHD who play outside regularly show less hyperactive and attention-deficit symptoms than kids with ADHD who play indoors regularly. Physical activity keeps their energies engaged, improves their social skills and boosts all the 'happy hormones' in their brain! This is a fun way to treat your child's ADHD naturally.
On that note, encouraging sports or martial arts that teach concentration, team work and discipline can be very beneficial for health, concentration skills, as well as self-esteem, not to mention being an excellent way to stay out of mischief!
Healthy sleep routine
Many children who suffer from ADHD struggle to fall asleep, or fight their sleep so much that their home may turn into a war zone every night. ADDitude, a website that focuses on ADHD, touches on the subject of sleep deprivation in households of ADHD children, stating, "A British research study shows that three times as many children with ADHD have difficulty falling or staying, and 57 percent of their parents slept less than six hours. More than half of the kids got up four times during the night. Almost half woke up before 6:00 am."
This issue impacts not only the child's life, but also the parents' life - sleep deprivation leads to irritability, missed work and reduced brain functioning! Sleep deprivation can cause much frustration for children and their parents and can even result in relationship difficulties if the problem is not addressed!
If you look at the inner workings of the brain, the unhealthy sleeping habits of ADHD kids can be explained, and are actually closely related to the hyperactive and attention-deficit disorder. The region of the brain that regulates attention also regulates sleeping patterns! If you find yourself struggling to put your ADHD child to sleep night after night, then it is important to do something about it. One of the first things a doctor may do for an ADHD child who suffers from insomnia or who struggles to sleep, is to prescribe sleeping pills. Once again, these drugs can result in addiction and do not solve the problem in the long term. Side effects are common and children are often very drowsy in the morning.
Treat your child's ADHD naturally with a healthy sleeping pattern:
- Du Du Drops is a safe and effective homeopathic remedy specially formulated by our Clinical Psychologist to calm and relax young children and induce a natural state of drowsiness. It helps to prevent night time behavioural problems and restore a healthy, regular sleep pattern. Du Du Drops is gentle and non-addictive and will not unduly sedate your child!
- Together with consistent discipline, a regular routine and night time ritual and a loving home environment, Du Du Drops can help to break poor and irregular sleep patterns and restore peace to your home.
- A sleepy time tea like Yogi Organic Bedtime Tea can also be helpful in relaxing the child and inducing drowsiness before bed.
Conducive homework/study space
Seeing as a child who has ADHD may have trouble concentrating and staying focused when it comes to homework or study time, creating a relaxing study space is important. Ensure there are minimal distractions and that the space is quiet and peaceful. Noise and objects make for the perfect distraction, so try and keep the space simple, tidy and minimal. Remove all toys, books, games etc. from the homework space, and try locate this space in an area where you can always keep an eye on your child. Ask members of the family to be mindful about homework/study time - turn the TV off, don't play music and keep conversations low.
Depending on the age of the child, it is also useful to break homework tasks and time into ‘blocks’ and set bite size goals to finish within age appropriate times.
Kids with ADHD are more likely to create a big mess everywhere they go, forget to do their chores, torment siblings and fail to follow simple instructions. However, with healthy, consistent discipline and management, you can prevent your household from turning into utter chaos! Our Clinical Psychologist goes back to the basics and has compiled important coping strategies and discipline techniques for ADHD kids, that when followed through, will help bring your home back to peace, order and happiness!
Dealing with a child who has ADHD can be very trying on parents. Please never hesitate to contact us for FREE advice. We're always happy to help!
If your child has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, read THIS article that provides you with useful tips to help you navigate through and find the best solution for your ADHD child!