Tips for Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety

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.

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