*This article was sponsored by Joy Spring. Tips and opinions are our own.
In our family, we have a lot of different personalities, and when it comes to school, our kids are wide-ranging in their degrees of tolerance. Day in and day out we’ve learned what these differences mean when it comes to their schooling. We have a combined 12 kids, some of whom are homeschooled as well as those who attend conventional school. Whatever the case, We strive to meet the individual needs of each of our kids in order to be successful in school, and we've found several effective ways to help your child focus on learning too.
Top 5 Ways to Help Your Child Focus at School
1. Healthy Meals and Snacks
Sugary, processed foods rob the brain of vital nutrients. Whole foods feed the brain, and when the brain is nourished, it becomes an unlimited source of potential at school, even for children with above average trouble focusing on their work.
Other than meat that’s humanely raised in a natural environment (i.e. avoid factory farms, choose grassfed or cage-free, know your source), and seafood from healthy oceans or farms, here are the top 5 foods that nourish the brain, improve cognition and encourage focus:
- Vegetables! Anything they'll eat, but especially dark green veggies.
- Fruit. Any kind will do, but low sugar ones like green apples, avocados, berries, grapefruit and kiwi are more ideal.
- Nuts including walnuts, pecans, peanuts and almonds = healthy fats for a thriving brain.
- Coconut, avocado and olive oils. Cook with these healthy fats and incorporate into recipes. Here are 7 easy ways to eat more coconut oil.
- Fermented foods like kombucha, homemade fermented ketchup, vegetables, and water or milk kefir. Our favorite place for fermentation recipes and starter cultures is Cultures for Health. You can also find quality fermented foods at the grocery store, but be sure to choose products with short and simple ingredients lists, low sugar and low sodium. Here are 3 of our very own fermented food recipes:
- Easy Homemade Fermented Vegetables the Whole Family Will Love
- They Call Me the SCOBY Whisperer + the Best Homemade Kombucha Recipe
- Blueberry Kombucha Probiotic Popsicles
Most of these foods can be blended into a smoothie, and I don't know a kid who doesn't love a smoothie. Check out these super healthy smoothie recipes for kids for easy ways to provide brain-nourishing snacks. And ALWAYS avoid artificial sweeteners! Read about 100+ Types of Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners + How to Avoid the Dangerous Ones.
2. Herbal Supplements
We love quality supplements, and we incorporate them into our daily lives in a variety of ways. Recently, we were lucky enough to come across Genius Drops which is an all-in-one certified organic, non-GMO, gluten and sugar-free herbal supplement made specifically to help kids focus in school.
Made with 10 herbs including astragalus root, ginkgo leaf, wood betony herb, and eleuthero root, each ingredient serves the purpose of increasing intellectual performance, mental sharpness, memory and mood. These drops taste pretty good, so we take them straight from the dropper or just add them to a little juice for a healthy brain boost before school. We highly recommend this supplement to help any child thrive and learn, but especially for those that struggle.
3. Tapping and Belly Breathing
Tapping and belly breathing encourage mindfulness and stress release to help your child focus on the tasks at hand. These methods can be used at school and at home, and once children get the hang of it, they’re able to regulate themselves and increase overall attentiveness. In fact, everyone should take the time to learn these calming techniques. Life is stressful, can I get an AMEN?!
Blissful Kids has a great instructional article about belly breathing for kids, and The Tapping Solution Foundation is a rich resource for classroom tapping for stress relief. Ultimately, we'd love to see these methods incorporated at all levels of school to impart effective coping skills that can be used throughout their lifetimes.
4. Minimize Homework
Only a couple of our kids have a knack for homework, but even they need time away from school, so we've become adept at setting boundaries with faculty. Kindly but firmly letting them know your preferred way of doing things can make all the difference between a smooth or a hectic school year.
Stress should be limited, and we've noticed a definitive correlation between too much homework and increased stress levels. So for our elementary school children, we allow only the slightest amount of homework. Just a few minutes a day has been the most beneficial to their mental and emotional well-being. For our older kids, we let them have more input on what they can handle and what they can't. And like before, we won't hesitate to begin limiting homework if we see evidence of inordinate stress. That way, home is a safe place where the kids can relax and be ready for the next day of school. Who doesn't need some time off, right?
5. Maximize Time Away from School
Get their ya-ya's out! Exercise is important for all of us, but because kids with tons of energy are asked to sit still and work for hours and hours a day, they NEED it to maintain focus. Lots of physical activity will help them sleep better too. Hellooooo Saturday morning! Focusing on family togetherness and limited screen time are also essential to preparing the child for their next work day.
What are your favorite ways to help your child focus at school?