Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioral disorder that affects children, teens and adults. The main symptoms of ADHD include difficulty focusing, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Having ADHD can creat significant challenges when it comes to a child’s education and social life. Once a child is diagnosed with ADHD, many doctors prescribe medications that act as stimulants in order to control the symptoms.
Under the proper care and supervision, these medications are effective. However, an ideal outcome would be to treat ADHD without the use of medications. Much like Autism Spectrum Disorder, children with ADHD display a range of symptoms and no two experience the disorder the same.
That being said, there are natural treatments that may be just as effective for a child with ADHD as prescribed medication – depending on the severity of their symptoms. If your child has ADHD, it may be worth discussing natural treatment options with your healthcare provider.
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils are produced naturally through organic materials and not synthetically developed in a laboratory. They are found throughout different parts of plants, flowers, wood, roots, rind and leaves.
Different essential oils affect the body in different ways. For a child dealing with ADHD, calming oils such as lavender or sage may promote enough relaxation to help improve their focus and attention.
Try diffusing a calming blend of oils in study areas and the bedroom. Take your child’s age into consideration when using oils topically on the skin.
2. Mindful Meditation
Mindful meditation is essentially attention and awareness training. It involves sitting quietly and allowing the brain to dismiss unwanted or unnecessary thoughts.
The ability to be mindful helps to strengthen self-regulation skills and give children with ADHD more control over their thoughts and attention.
Not only does it improve attention, it also helps to lower anxiety – this helps the body to stay in a state of calm.
Exercise helps the brain function more efficiently by creating an increase in dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters affect focus and attention.
Skill-based exercises, such as karate, dance or yoga, are especially beneficial to children with ADHD since they require focus and concentration.
4. Going Outside
For children with ADHD, paying attention and focusing throughout the day is a struggle and can be exhausting.
Spending at least 20 minutes a day outside has been proven to help children with ADHD recover from attention fatigue.
What a child with ADHD eats can greatly affect their symptoms. Nutrition plays a huge role in helping the brain function properly.
Processed foods, sugars and dyes can increase hyperactive behavior, making the task of focusing difficult. Healthy foods high in omega-3’s, protein and fiber prevent surges in blood sugar, stabilizes energy levels and aids in producing attention-boosting neurotransmitters.
It may seem odd to give a child coffee but the caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant in the same way medications prescribed for ADHD do.
Giving coffee to a child as a treatment for ADHD should be done under medical supervision and given in low amounts. Depending on your child’s age, the range of recommended dosage for coffee is anywhere between 45mg and 85mg.
Parents who choose to give their child coffee as a natural treatment for ADHD must also be mindful of other sources of caffeine in their diet. For example, a can of pop or soda contains around 71 mg of caffeine. Paired with a low dose of coffee, this is still too much for a child – and pop and soda should be avoided due to their high levels of sugar.
If you are giving coffee to your child with ADHD, ensure that you are not adding any sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Treating Without Medicating
When it comes to parenting a child with ADHD, you really need to make the best choices for your child. You may not believe in medication, but medication may be the best option unless a more natural treatment is effective.