ADHD – 5 tips to help naturally
Why I am sharing this you may wonder?
Because those words a few years back, out of my then 6 years old son’s mouth, deeply broke my heart “Mum I don’t think I deserve to live, I am too naughty”.
Those words were the catalyst for me to take action and become a mum on a mission. And my mission is not only to help my son live happy with ADHD and thrive through life, but also to share the message! Medication although sometimes necessary is not always the only answer.
Our son always was labeled the bad boy on the playground or the disruptive pupil in the classroom!
He was never listening to anything we would ask him to do, he was extremely impulsive and unable to control a surprisingly high level of strength and energy for his age. Furthermore, he was totally unable to focus on certain minor tasks of daily life which were a real struggle. And on the flip side, he could immerse himself for hours in other topics he would highly be interested in. Almost like an addiction.
He was a dream of a baby, sleeping all the way through his nights already after 3 weeks. However, the oldest he would get, the more troubles we had to get him to sleep. He would tell us that he could not “shut down” his brain at night, he could just not stop thinking.
Although in general good health, his immune system in regards to his respiratory system was extremely weak, he had regular mild asthma attacks and eczema flare-ups all over his body. He also was covered in molluscum contagiosum, a clear sign of a weak immune system.
Those are all common descriptions of “the fun” with children… (I am hearing you thinking!)
Yes, indeed, except that it was like “on steroids”, like all the time.
I am a big believer in the fact that as a mum you feel when something is going on with your child. I could feel it already quite early on, but I was unable to identify it.
Almost every nights, I would cry myself to sleep after a very hard day. I was feeling useless and like a very bad mum, unable to “control my child”.
But the night our then 6 years old son said those words “Mum I don’t think I deserve to live, I am too naughty” it finally triggered something in me.
I realized he was becoming depressive and recognized a few other signs like his very unsocial behavior for example.
Those words became a clear catalyst and a massive turning point for our family. The next morning, we got an appointment with our pediatrician and told him all about it. His answer was “now you are ready”! And he referred me to a psychologist.
Finally getting a diagnostic was amazing, as it became almost like a new start for our family
Everything happened fairly quickly from there, and we got explained how his brain was functioning and how to understand certain behaviors as well as how to react best. We soon saw a great deal of improvement in our daily family life. And I was now feeling almost “in control” of the situation, but the symptoms were still here and we had to do something about it to help our son become happier and more self-confident.
Of course, we got suggested to medicate him, something, after reflection, we decided not to do at this stage. Only if no other choice would be left. We had witnessed the sides effects these drugs have on children very closely in our entourage and this is not something we were considering for our child.
I was convinced I would find a way to help him naturally!
And so I became a mum on a mission. It took time, I didn’t find right away but amazingly enough, life provided me with answers. I explain all about it in my book! Don’t worry, I won’t get into too many details on this right now as what does interest us today are my 5 tips.
So here’s what we do now. 5 key elements we have incorporated into our lives to help our son in a very natural way and actually turn ADHD into a (super) power!
Tip number 1 – Turn all this “not yet canalized energy” into something positive for your child.
Sport! Find a sport your child can use up their energy and turn it into a power. Our first try was soccer, mainly because my husband Yan is a huge soccer fan and was playing himself for many years.
The goals are to first make the best use of all this hyperactivity, and secondly to build self-confidence through the love and passion of sport.
This first trial wasn’t really rewarding, as we soon noticed he wasn’t quite ready for a team sport. The environment around the speed and hecticness of the action were confusing to him. To explain it simply… by the time he would understand the action in his brain taking so many detours, it was simply too late, the action was over. This wasn’t rewarding at all since he was living it like a failure. Which was obviously totally contra productive with the aim of introducing sport.
From my researches, specialists would advise either a martial art sport or swimming.
It actually all happened naturally for us since it was coinciding with our move to Australia and we got the kids into swim school to, first of all, keep them safe around backyard pools and beaches.
In our case, there clearly is life before swimming and life after! In this sport, our son has found a way to use his energy, build confidence, work on mindset, challenge himself. You can read more on that in this article I wrote about being the mum of sporty kids.
Swimming a very special world, some fear the loneliness of the black line, others thrive with it, which is his case. When he jumps into the water, the hecticness in his brain stops, there’s nothing else left than, the black line, the stroke, the quest to the perfect movement. And this has changed his life!
Tip number 2 – Brain food!
We love to call it brain food. With that, I mean, keep their brain busy and challenged with a structured goal. Like learning a new language, improving a specific skill requesting some brain effort or reading a higher level books are all ideas to try out.
It was mindblowing to us to see that our son actually started to produce way better school work once he got placed into a “high achiever” class instead of almost failing in a mainstream class. We finally were able to understand that the problem was boredom. And boredom combined with “unmanaged” hyperactivity is an explosive cocktail in a classroom!
We didn’t have him taking an IQ test to brag or to label our son. But to understand his brain and it’s needs. A real game changer!
Tip number 3 – Diet! Don’t be scared, take it as a family challenge. The change is massif!
I will never forget how scared I was to start changing our nutritional habits. It was like jumping out of a comfort zone and try something totally new. However, the hardest was the first change, from there on, everything has just made sense and every new change we make is just the natural following of the first one.
I do not have a specially labeled diet plan ready for your here as I do not believe there is one fitting everyone. Also, I am not a food nazi. We try to stick to our game the most closely we can at home with exceptions every now and then. We still eat out but are mindful about our choices.
However, here are the elements we have taken out of our diet with amazing success (remember we did this gradually!)
- Food additives like coloring and preservatives or flavors
- Processed food
- Reduced drastically our meat consumption, leading towards a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet (again with some exceptions)Over the years, I got asked so many times about what we eat, sharing my recipes with so many desperate parents, overwhelmed with the idea of changing their diet. I wanted to show them that it doesn’t need to be complicated nor horrendously time consuming. So I created a FREE e-book. A little something for you to get started easily or find some inspiration and start reducing nasties. Grab it here!
Tip number 4 – Relaxation, find a way to develop your child’s inner peace
Modalities like massage therapy, meditation, yoga or floatation tanks are amazing to calm down the nervous system and release some “feel good and calm down” hormones and body chemicals called endorphins, dopamines, and serotonin.
Calming down the nervous system will improve mood, self-esteem, and confidence and therefore even happiness.
I find paramount to anyone, not just people living with ADHD to learn to use a few techniques and modalities to improve their wellbeing.
Tip number 5 – Clean living, chemicals out!
I was truly blind as what was going on with our house and the bubble I was living in. It’s crazy to think I had no idea how many chemicals I would expose myself and my family too on a daily basis. Simple tasks like hygiene and house cleaning can almost become deadly when you don’t know what’s in the product you are using. Honestly, I had no idea!
Over the long run, those chemicals will make you and your loved ones sick. From your facial moisturizer to your dishwashing liquid, your hairspray, toothpaste, floor cleaner, and room air freshener, to only name a few, everything is loaded with nasty chemicals.
Those chemicals have a HUGE negative impact on everyone but especially triggering more symptoms on people living with ADHD. When I started removing those chemicals from our household, we noticed the difference in all of us almost instantly.
Although I knew I was doing the right thing, I soon felt overwhelmed. Sourcing the right products was pretty hard and quite expensive. I remember running from one shop to another, comparing online for hours to sources the best and safest at a lower price. A real job, I can tell ya! At some stage, I was even myself making our sunscreen, soap, laundry products, and even more. It was a huge task and I almost gave up… until I found a much easier, safe and cheaper solution!
The introduction of those 5 key elements has changed our family life!
Our son is thriving at school, in sport, socially and has never been medicated to help with his ADHD. I know everyone is different and for some there is no other alternative than medicines. My message here is, at least give “Natural Health and Clean Living” a go, you could be surprised how things could change for the better for you and your family!
xx Much Love, Nat
About the Author:
Natascha is firstly a wife and mum of 3, originally Swiss and a French native speaker, she lives in Queensland Australia. She also is a passionate online entrepreneur and author.
Natascha’s passion is to share the message of Living a Life of Purpose.
Her mission is to help other mums create more freedom to live their dream life while becoming healthier and happier!