Good morning everyone! We’re off to a new week of learning in our family! As you know, we’re dealing with ADHD and we’ve been using various approaches to try to manage it without using medication. One of the ways that we’re finding to be helpful is by making lifestyle changes.
When I say “lifestyle changes”, I mean all parts of our lifestyle, including what we eat, watch, and do. There’s some disagreement over whether diet plays a role in ADHD symptoms among the medical community.
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ADHD and Diet
Some doctors (including our family doctor) think that ADHD and diet are not involved at all. Others say that their research shows that consuming high amounts of specific foods and chemicals is linked with worsening ADHD symptoms. I’m not a doctor and I have not studied the topic enough to say yes or no either way.
However, I have noticed that when we eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet – all of us, Tigger included, seem to have higher concentration levels. We’ve also noticed that the less processed food we eat, the better Tigger’s symptoms become. I’ve seen quite a bit of information connecting artificial food dye and ADHD. While I don’t know if this is true, I do know that when we cut down on these kinds of chemicals, the children have an easier time listening and following instructions.
ADHD and Television
Along the same lines, there’s been some research linking excessive television and ADHD in children. We don’t allow our kids to watch much television. They often go for two to three days without seeing it at all. (Note: I’m not necessarily advocating this lifestyle for everyone.) When we do watch television, we stick with children’s programs from PBSKids.
This isn’t just because we don’t care for commercials. It’s because the speed and graphics on these shows are far slower than what you’d see on some other children’s programs. Keeping them tuned into programs that avoid rapid cuts and color changes seems to prevent Tigger from getting as worked up as she might with another program.
Lastly, another lifestyle change we’ve been trying to institute is that of mindfulness. A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post about changing from a “busy” mentality to that of more purposeful parenting. We’ve been working on that as a family as well.
Lately, whenever Tigger starts to get excited and move around a lot, we encourage her to take three deep breaths in a row before she speaks or moves – just to help her center herself a bit before she takes off. It seems to help her become aware of her tendency to speak or move without thinking first.
Have you tried making any lifestyle changes to cope with the symptoms of ADHD? What adjustments have worked for you and your family? Let us know in the comments below. Keep on learning!
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Adapting as a Teacher
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Managing Expectations
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Preparing Kids to Learn
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Considering the Other Kids
Great series! I am homeschooling my ADHD/ASD 8yo for the second year. We also limit media and manage his symptoms with diet. We did the GAPS diet for a little over a year which helped SO much and we are still using a modified GAPS and Gluten free, Casien free (GFCF) diet now. Good luck figuring it all out and keep up the great work!
I’ve heard great things about the GAPS diet, but I’ve been too lazy to actually try it….lol. I’ll have to look into it more seriously.