ADHD diagnoses in children have skyrocketed in recent years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of ADHD diagnoses in children increased by 41% between 2003 and 2011 and continues to rise. Whether your child has ADHD or is just rambunctious, their inability to focus on tasks can affect their academic performance and ability to learn new things. Luckily there are things you can try to help them stay focused on the task at hand that don’t involve medication.
Food Coloring and Preserves
Food dyes and preserves are harsh chemicals that can have a serious impact on behavior. Avoiding foods and drinks which contain these chemicals can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of hyperactivity. Things to avoid include:
- Sodium benzoate, usually found in sodas, salad dressings, and fruit juices
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow). This food coloring is commonly found in cereal, candy, icing, and sodas
- D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow), usually occurs in sorbets, juices and smoked haddock
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) found in pickles, cereal, granola bars, and yogurt
- FD&C Red No. 40 (allura red) is added to sodas, children’s medications, gelatin desserts, and ice cream
A 2011 study found that spending just 20 minutes outside every day helps children to concentrate more. Nature doesn’t just work on little kids; a study from the University of Southern California found that urban teenagers are less likely to be aggressive if they grow up with more green space. Just a few hours outdoors in a natural environment a week can help your children (and you!) feel calmer and more focused.
Keep Calm and Drink Tea
Matcha tea is a form of powdered green tea. Because you are drinking the actual leaves rather than just steeping the tea, matcha tea is 137 times more potent than green tea. Matcha tea contains the amino acid, L-theanine. Studies show that the amino acid L-theanine helps to relax the body and improves concentration. That means your kids will be calmer and more focused after drinking a cup of delicious matcha tea.
Ok, I know it’s tough to get your children to sit still for anything, but they can learn to meditate if you are patient and persistent. Start with just two minutes a day and then slowly increase mediation time. Studies show that meditation helps to calm students and helps them to focus. Meditation also helps them to regulate their own behavior and emotions.