It’s back to school time – which means a time of heightened anxiety for some kids.
There are so many supportive tools to help with a “brain that is always awake” (to quote one of my children, when explaining his overactive, sensitive mind).
Because our calming neurotransmitters are formed in the gut, optimizing nutrition makes a huge impact on brain health, so it’s a bottom-up approach as well as top-down. Remember – if your child isn’t getting or digesting protein well, he or she may not be making the neurotransmitters they need for calming/stress relief. So sometimes a little support can help, but nutrition is key!
There are so many safe, evidence-based tools to help our children thrive during times of anxiety.
Nutrition tips (bottom-up approach):
- Limit sugar/processed foods/sugary drinks
- Avoid artificial dyes and sweeteners
- Choose full fat over reduced or low fat
- Load up on quality protein and fiber from veggies and whole grains
- Consider if gluten or dairy is a trigger
Other tips (top-down approach):
- Take time for movement every day (preferably in the sun)
- Discuss highs/lows at dinner, but also…
- Eat dinner as a family, at a table
- Try EFT/Tapping (what is tapping?)
- Practice breathwork before bed
- Vagal nerve ear massage before bed
And never underestimate evidence-based tools like neurofeedback, therapy (talk or play), neuroscience brain wave training like NuCalm.
Supplements are a great way to provide what your child may not be getting nutritionally. The supplements we often rotate include these anti-anxiety chewables by Creekside for anxiety relief, this Gaba/l theanine liquid dropper formula by Pure Encapsulations for calming before bedtime, or these Calm gummies for digestive/anxiety support. For overall immune support plus gut health, I like the Plexus X Factor Kids Multivitamin.
One last thing.
These tools work great for kids, but they work for parents too! I don’t know a single adult who won’t benefit from at least one of the above suggestions.
As always, if you are on any long-term medications, check with your practitioner before starting anything new.