The school year is in full swing…how are you feeling? Stressed? Anxious? Or EXCITED?
The different feelings that come up for you are most likely based on your kiddo’s previous experience with school. Some kiddos love school and other despise the entire experience. Regardless of your feelings and your child’s feelings toward school, this year can be their best school year yet.
Being parents ourselves, we need simple and easy-to-digest information to make a change in our family’s life. If you can implement the following five steps, school can be fun and exciting instead of stressful and draining.
The core of all five steps focuses on feeding the brain with proper stimulation and nourishment. Without the proper stimulation and nourishment, your child’s brain will default to lack of focus, poor immune function, frustration, and a stressful school year.
Step 1 – Assessing Your Child’s Brain
There are two main automated modes in the brain: protection mode and growth mode. These two processes exist on the subconscious level of the autonomic nervous system; the part that controls 90% of decision making, mood and body function. You can relate protection mode to stress while growth mode relates to being calm and focused.
How do you know if your child’s brain is in protection mode?
- Any label / diagnosis: ADD, ADHD, SPD, OCD, ODD, ASD or they have an IEP for another reason
- Consistently gets sick – month after month
- Poor balance / coordination
- Short temper
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty interacting with peers
- Poor sleep
- Holds their fork or pencil like a cave woman/man
If you are saying, “No, no, nope, not my child,” then your child’s default is most likely growth mode. Yay!
If you are saying, “Yes, yes, oh yea, that’s my child,” then your child definitely defaults to protection mode.
Protection mode did not become their default brain mode overnight. This could have started in utero or at birth. How can you get them out of protection mode? See a pediatric chiropractor who speaks this language and one who has a gentle approach. Read more here.
Once growth mode is active, your kiddo is ready to get the most out of Steps 2 – 5.
To make it even easier, Steps 2 – 5 correspond with before bed, before school, during school, and after school.
One more thing before we dig in. Mom or Dad, implement these strategies for yourself and watch your happiness, energy and productivity increase tenfold!
Step 2 – Before Bed
An hour before your kiddo goes to bed, make sure there is zero screen time. Looking at screens, whether it be a tv show, movie or video game, excites the brain and puts it in a stress response. Screens stress the brain due to the fast moving images, blue light and EMFs.
No eating an hour before bed, unless it is veggies. Refined sugars / simple carbohydrates or tough to digest foods will cause the body to use significant energy to digest food while during sleep instead of focusing on brain development, detoxification and growth.
Getting to sleep on a consistent schedule before 10 pm allows for the brain to get in a circadian rhythm. Sleep before 10 pm allows for the most amount of growth hormone to maximize your child’s growth and development.
Lastly, turn on the salt lamps. Don’t have any salt lamps? Buy some! Get your bedtime area to only be illuminated by salt lamps while reading books or winding down with some gentle play. The orange light of the salt lamps causes melatonin release from the brain’s pineal gland similar to gazing into the orange glow of a sunset.
All these tactics will help your kiddos sleep better, sleep deeper and allow their brain to properly develop and their body to detoxify and grow.
Step 3 – Before School
Breakfast is a key part of a child’s day. The biggest mistake parents make is feeding them sugary cereals and simple carbohydrates (bagels, white toast, etc.). The best foods are filled with high quality proteins, fats and starches (sweet potatoes). These foods will fuel your child’s brain with longer term energy and not cause any major blood sugar drops and energy crashes.
Cod liver oil or flaxseed oil and MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil will all feed your child’s brain with fatty acids that support high brain function and consistent focus.
There are thousands of high protein, high fat, and starch filled recipes online such as breakfast skillets, smoothies, etc. to help you easily and seamlessly implement a new breakfast menu this school year.
Step 4 – During School
This one may be quite difficult to accomplish. To make it simple, your child needs to have physical activity throughout their day. Tell teachers the reason for more physical activity is better focus, improved behavior and happier demeanor.
Encourage your kiddo to play at recess and to go all out in gym class. When it’s appropriate, get up from their chair as much as possible. Sitting in a chair for hours during the day puts the body into full flexion (think fetal position), which inhibits brain function.
If your child can get up and move around multiple times throughout the day, it will activate higher parts of their brain that engage focus and higher emotional intelligence.
If they are not overly hyperactive or already bouncy in their seat, consider getting them a wobble cushion for their chair from Amazon. The wobble cushion allows them to easily shift position, engage their spine, and improves posture, all of which activates, engages and nourishes higher parts of their brain.
Step 5 – After School
Get them ACTIVE!! It’s not just to blow off steam from sitting in a chair all day. The brain requires movement to integrate learning from the day.
When your child moves, their brain releases hormones and neurotransmitters that encourage focus, growth and development. The biggest one is Brain Derived Nerve Growth Factor.
Activities that further increase brain function include balance and coordination activities (playing catch, skateboarding, scootering, biking, tree climbing, etc.) as well as spinning and swinging activities (dancing, swing set, etc.).
Steps 2-5 will help to keep your kiddo vibrant and focused all school year long! Stay consistent and you will absolutely see results. But wait…
What if your child’s brain is in protection mode? How do you get their brain back into growth mode?
See a pediatric chiropractor who speaks this language and one who takes a gentle approach.
Dr. David and Dr. Sarah are trained to help your child’s brain stay in higher function which increases focus, improves the immune system, creates better digestion, results in happiness, improves maturity, increases positive interaction with peers and helps them become the best version of themselves!
Check out our Facebook page for success stories and more information on how to help your child be happy and healthy through every stage of life.
Cheers to an amazing school year! You rock, Mom and Dad 🙂