New Year New Child: 5 Tips for Better Focus and Attention
It is almost 2020, a year that sounds more like science fiction than reality. As with every year, it’s a perfect time for us to look at the year behind us and decide what we want for the year ahead of us. A smart man once told me, “You can have anything you want, you just have to know what it is.” I think New Year’s Resolutions are like that. If we dedicate ourselves to a goal, whether for us, our family, or our children, we can accomplish it.
Does your child have problems focusing or paying attention? Are they easily distracted at school? Do they have trouble remembering the things you ask them to do? Do you dread the calls from the school about their behavior? Whether your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or you’re just worried about them and their future, here are the top five things you can do to help your child focus and behave.
You are what you eat and so are your kids. There are many important things to understand about diet and brain function. There are foods that help with focus and concentration and others that give us brain fog and make us hyper. It can be hard to implement changes to foods at certain ages, but difficulty cannot be our excuse. We must attempt to make important changes.
Start with adding foods, before taking away. Protein is essential at every meal, even snacks if possible. Any kind of protein will do for most, whether that be chicken, turkey, beef, fish, nuts, beans, or non-GMO soy. Also, make sure to eat on a regular basis. Some children do get hangry (angry when hungry), and snacking every 2-3 hours can help dramatically.
Then, start removing certain foods, most importantly artificial colors. Read your ingredient list and if the food contains Red Dye, Blue Dye, Yellow, or Green, put it back on the shelf and choose another food. These artificial chemicals are outlawed across Europe and other countries, because they are known to contribute to ADHD and focus problems. Choose foods that list natural colors. It’s an easy switch.
Next, try to reduce sugars. While we understand kids love sugar, it’s almost impossible to avoid it completely and this can create a lot of family struggles. However, we can find some moderation. Start counting the sugar your child is consuming. Sugar is listed as grams on the ingredient list. Every 4 grams = 1 tsp of sugar. A typical can of soda, which has 40 grams of sugar, contains 10 teaspoons of sugar! In those terms, it sounds a lot more extreme.
Neurofeedback is an amazing non-invasive therapy to help children with focus problems. Treatments balance brain waves to help function and self-regulation. Our Low-Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) directly trains the central nervous system and brain. Treatments last approximately 20 minutes and can make drastic changes in the way children think. Scientific research highlights the ability of neurofeedback to improve focus, cognition, memory, and behaviors.
Does your child enjoy reading or is it the one thing they detest? Would they rather learn by hearing and repeating? Do they complain of headaches or car-sickness? When they write, are their letters grouped too close together, or too far apart? Or perhaps letters are often backwards? If these things sound like your child, they may have a vision problem. Consult your optometrist and make sure to ask to evaluate their “Tracking”. Each of our eyes has 6 muscles, that’s 12 muscles that have to work in coordination while reading. Make sure each eye’s vision is 20/20, and that tracking is perfect. If not, vision therapy is a permanent, valuable treatment.
4. Positive Reinforcement
There’s an old story about a child whose behavior was so bad no amount of yelling and punishments would set him straight. The father decided to stop yelling and punishing his son, but every time he heard something bad his child did, he shot an arrow into the side of the garage. Months went by until one day there was no more room for arrows. The child noticed is father crying and decided to change his ways. The next day his father heard a good thing that his son did, so he pulled an arrow out of the garage. Every day after that each time he heard something good his son did he would remove an arrow, until a year later he finally removed the final arrow. The father walked outside one day and saw his son crying. He said, “You have done so well and turned your life around completely, why are you crying?” And his son said, “I’m crying because of all those holes.”
While it’s easy to yell and be angry when our children don’t act the way we want, it is extremely detrimental. Most children do well with positive reinforcements. Work with your child to create reward systems. Whether that be money, toys, or stickers, reward the right behavior instead of punishing the wrong behavior.
5. Brain Chemistry Balancing
Most importantly, the best all-natural way to improve focus and behavior is balancing brain chemistry. Our brain runs on electricity and that electrical charge is affected by chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. These chemicals are what most psychiatric medications work on. Whether it’s an anti-depressant that improves your serotonin, or an ADHD stimulant that improves your dopamine, changing these chemicals in your brain changes your mood, behavior, and focus.
We can do the same thing naturally. Remember, we are what we eat, including the chemicals in our brain. These are mostly made of protein, which is why it’s so important to eat protein at every meal. However, did you know these chemicals can be tested and analyzed? Most conventional doctors don’t test these, but we test serotonin and dopamine levels in all of our patients. Even more helpful, it’s a simple urine test through a standard lab (like Quest) and goes through your insurance plan.
Imagine knowing your child’s mood is from a serotonin deficiency that you found on a simple urine test or discovering your child’s focus issues are from a dopamine deficiency that is easily discovered in days. In my opinion, this is the fastest way to help your child. Test your child’s dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline levels, and then select the correct natural supplement. Appropriate protein supplements will increase your serotonin and/or dopamine within minutes.
Maybe your child is part of the 64% of American kids with a behavioral, emotional, or developmental concern. Maybe you’re looking for another solution rather than more psych meds with side effects. Our office has the solution, we have the answers. It’s all-natural, and your children will feel happier, and do better in school, and that is going to help the entire family.
Dr. Jared Skowron, N.D. is the Amazon best-selling author of “100 Natural Remedies for Your Child”, and owner of Spectrum Awakening, an Autism/ADHD supplement company. His main focus is as a biomedical Autism/ADHD physician, helping kids in his private practice for 16 years. He is an international lecturer and enjoys educating families on effective, scientifically researched non-pharmaceutical interventions to improve Autism/ADHD. Dr. Skowron has lectured for Generation Rescue, TACA, National Autism Association, and Autism One. He is on the medical advisory boards of Autism Hope Alliance, NeuroNeeds, Chemo & Crayons, and Natural Practitioner Magazine. He appears often on NBC Connecticut, and enjoys spending time with his family and 7-year-old daughter. FREE eBooks at: http://www.SpectrumAwakening.com. We accept most private insurances and Husky. Book your appointment today at: www,SpectrumAwakening.com.