Has your child’s teacher suggested that your child is struggling at school with focus, learning or behaviour? Do they wake up grumpy and then get wired and tired after school? Are your evenings peppered with meltdowns and mood swings?
The school day is super-intense for most kids, especially if they have any SEN needs, and they can easily get exhausted… which can affect concentration, academic achievement and may even lead to disruptive behaviour. It does not need to be this way and this blog shares some of my top tips to help your kids shine at school, and they may even become little angels at home too!
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What is going on in the classroom?
Many primary and pre-prep schools have approached me recently asking for my help, as they are finding it harder than ever before to teach their pupils. Plenty of the kids need additional learning support; they seem disconnected and zoned out; many are wired, hyper and silly; and more and more kids can be belligerent and oppositional. These teachers are crying out for a calm classroom with engaged children, and they need your help!
How to support your child’s learning
Being a parent these days can be tough. We tend to be time-poor and can be stressed out and exhausted ourselves. So here are some nifty before and after school guidelines on how to create routines and habits for your children, so that they are better nourished and crucially, better rested for the next day. And the upside will probably be that they also become more of a joy to have around you after school that evening.
- High-protein breakfast – studies have found that children focus better and are better behaved at school when they eat a high-protein breakfast. Think about eggs, Greek yoghurt, a thick spread of nut butter on toast or ground seeds in porridge. Prepare things the night before if you find the morning is too rushed.
- Hydration – water is one of the important things for focus and mood. Get them into a routine of drinking a large glass of water when they wake up, and fill up a water bottle to take to school so they have something to sip on during the school day.
- Nourishing after-school snacks – school pick up is when they are most exhausted and hungry, so this is your chance to feed them some goodness and avoid the hyper-crazy sugar rush from shop-bought packaged snacks that can affect the rest of their afternoon and evening. My tip is to freeze batches of homemade flapjacks, muffins and cookies (that defrost super-fast) to have to hand for the after-school munchies. See my recipe pages for easy snacks you can make.
- Avoid too many after-school activities – a child needs some downtime after a busy day at school, especially if they get easily overtired and overwhelmed, and this can affect their behaviour the next day too. Try giving them a healthy snack such as crunchy veg and hummus or a picky plate of fruit, cheese and nuts when they get back home from school. Pop on some soothing music or an audio story and let them play, before thinking about homework or additional therapies.
- A wholesome supper – school lunch can be hit or miss for so many reasons, so a supper cooked from scratch is super important during term time to optimise enough nutrients. This is a chance to get a filling meal with lots of veggies in. Aim to cook from scratch where possible and avoid chocolate and sugary puddings/drinks if you want to have a peaceful bedtime routine! Take a look at my recipe pages for lots of ideas.
- Sleep routines – we all know how grumpy and unfocused we can be when we don’t get enough sleep and your kids are the same. Primary school kids need at least 10 ½ hours’ sleep a night to thrive at school the next day. If they are too wired at bedtime, then consider a milky drink, chamomile tea and an Epsom salt bath to calm them down before bed.
A well-nourished and well-rested child is more likely to be a happy and calm child the next day at school, so set them up with a lovely filling breakfast, make sure they have enough water, and keep them balanced after school, with good rest and wholesome food!
If you are struggling with any aspect of your child’s nutrition, then get in touch with our children’s nutritional therapy team who can help with diet and routine changes, as well as recommend food supplements to help with sleep, immunity, mood and focus.
We know many people want to know what products we recommend but unfortunately for regulatory reasons, recommendations have to be private. However all is not lost, you can join NatureDoc Live! for monthly Zoom Q&As with Lucinda, as well as a forum for asking questions, and access to recommendations in our blogs which appear when you log in.
- Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9–11-year-old children
- The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents
- Effect of Protein-Rich Breakfast on Subsequent Energy Intake and Subjective Appetite in Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review and Meta–Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials