~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
1. Ensure adequate daily intake of Essential Fatty Acids.
If including EFAs in your family’s diet is a challenge, consider purchasing a high quality omega 3 supplement that guarantees purity. Some good brand names include Nutra-Sea, Nordic Naturals, and Genestra. Please read our article below for more information about how EFAs are essential for young brains.
2. Manage blood sugar.
Low and high blood sugar spikes in children are surprisingly common and can be responsible for fatigue or angry outbursts that are not conducive to learning. To help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, send your child to school with healthy low-sugar snacks, such as vegetables with hummus or guacamole (avocado) dip, organic plain yogurt (if not intolerant) with added fruit and cinnamon, and an apple (with the skin) with cheese slices. Older children may enjoy lentil salad or green salads with leftover chicken or fish, nuts and seeds, and feta cheese.
3. A healthy breakfast improves learning.
Avoid sugary cereals and baked goods, and choose breakfasts that include protein, whole grains, and good fats. Good breakfast options include homemade oatmeal with berries, yogurt with fruit, eggs, and whole grain toast with almond butter or avocado spread. Adequate protein in the morning makes learning easier throughout the day.
4. Encourage routines.
Not only is routine important for a child’s happiness and sense of security, it is also very important for growth and development. The body has a built-in biological clock called a circadian rhythm that coordinates sleep, wakefulness, body temperature, and more. Research suggests that routine positively impacts mental performance.
5. Encourage good sleep hygiene.
In addition to maintaining a good sleeping routine, rejuvenating sleep happens when light in the bedroom is minimized. Light interferes with the body’s ability to produce melatonin, an essential sleeping hormone. Avoid turning on the overhead bathroom or hall light when your child wakes up in the night. Nightlights in the bedroom could be put on a timer, and older children who are afraid of the dark might be comfortable with a bedside flashlight instead of a nightlight.