Childhood is should be a happy carefree time. Unfortunately, our children are more stressed than ever. The hectic combination of school, extra activities, possible problems at home and peer pressure makes for a challenging environment for kids.

The incidence of anxiety, depression and ADHD in children is on the rise. Children may exhibit signs of anxiety such as sadness, irritability, or “acting out.” Other signs include sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, short temper, clinginess or getting into trouble at school.

Some ways to make your child’s life better and well rounded:

Play outside. A sunny day (filled with Vitamin D) may do more than just boost your child’s mood. The mood-lifting chemicals in the brain actually increase when you’re exposed to bright light, vitamin D and sunlight are a major reason why many people feel happier during the summer. When you don’t get natural sunlight on your skin, you can suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren’t consuming enough vitamins or minerals.  The physical activity involved in play is a great mood booster because it reduces the stress-induced depletion of serotonin and adrenalin, both “feel good” chemicals in the body.

A recent report by the CDC found that physical activity may help improve academic performance, behavior and achievement, including concentration and attentiveness in the classroom. Also, regular activity has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and increase self-esteem for children and adolescents.

Nutrition. A well-nourished child will be in a better mood and have the ability to manage the ups and downs of everyday life.

  • Foods rich in protein improve alertness and energy. High-protein foods include fish, poultry, meat, and eggs. Other sources include legumes, cheese, milk and tofu.
  • Fatty acids are important so nerves can properly transmit important messages in the brain that help determine mood. Good sources of fatty acids are cold-water fish (such as tuna and salmon), dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oils and certain vegetable oils.
  • B vitamins have been linked to neurological development and mental functions. Dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy and meats are examples of foods rich in vitamin B.
  • Always limit processed foods. Processed foods contain unhealthy sugars, which cause mood swings.

Improve nerve function. Studies have shown chiropractic care for children is safe, gets results and offers children unexpected health benefits. The three most common additional benefits reported by parents were: improved immune system function, improved sleep and improved moods in the children.

Being a kid is tough, we as parents need to make the extra effort to ensure our kids a happy, healthy childhood. This will contribute to them being happy, productive adults!