Got Kids that can’t sit still?

Dear Difference Maker,

I’ve come across a really excellent article that I want to share with you today because it sheds much needed insight onto a growing issue with today’s children.  The need for movement.

The reality of you having any control over how much movement your kids get at school may be a moot point; HOWEVER you CAN CONTROL what they drink at home.

Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today…

By Valerie Strauss July 8, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that in recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011.

The reasons for the rise are multiple, and include changes in diagnostic criteria, medication treatment and more awareness of the condition.

In the following post, Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school. This appeared on the TimberNook blog.

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By Angela Hanscom

A perfect stranger pours her heart out to me over the phone. She complains that her 6-year-old son is unable to sit still in the classroom. The school wants to test him for ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder). This sounds familiar, I think to myself. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’ve noticed that this is a fairly common problem today.

The mother goes on to explain how her son comes home every day with a yellow smiley face. The rest of his class goes home with green smiley faces for good behavior. Every day this child is reminded that his behavior is unacceptable, simply because he can’t sit still for long periods of time.

The mother starts crying. “He is starting to say things like, ‘I hate myself’ and ‘I’m no good at anything.’” This young boy’s self-esteem is plummeting all because he needs to move more often.

Over the past decade, more and more children are being coded as having attention issues and possibly ADHD. A local elementary teacher tells me that at least eight of her twenty-two students have trouble paying attention on a good day. At the same time, children are expected to sit for longer periods of time. In fact, even kindergarteners are being asked to sit for thirty minutes during circle time at some schools.

The problem: children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters are a thing of the past. Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and the hectic schedules of modern-day society. Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem.

I recently observed a fifth grade classroom as a favor to a teacher. I quietly went in and took a seat towards the back of the classroom. The teacher was reading a book to the children and it was towards the end of the day. I’ve never seen anything like it. Kids were tilting back their chairs back at extreme angles, others were rocking their bodies back and forth, a few were chewing on the ends of their pencils, and one child was hitting a water bottle against her forehead in a rhythmic pattern.

This was not a special-needs classroom, but a typical classroom at a popular art-integrated charter school. My first thought was that the children might have been fidgeting because it was the end of the day and they were simply tired. Even though this may have been part of the problem, there was certainly another underlying reason.

We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one! Oh my goodness, I thought to myself. These children need to move!

Ironically,  many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time. Just like with exercising, they need to do this more than just once-a-week in order to reap the benefits. Therefore, having soccer practice once or twice a week is likely not enough movement for the child to develop a strong sensory system.

Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of to “turn their brain on.” What happens when the children start fidgeting? We ask them to sit still and pay attention; therefore, their brain goes back to “sleep.”

Fidgeting is a real problem. It is a strong indicator that children are not getting enough movement throughout the day. We need to fix the underlying issue. Recess times need to be extended and kids should be playing outside as soon as they get home from school. Twenty minutes of movement a day is not enough! They need hours of play outdoors in order to establish a healthy sensory system and to support higher-level attention and learning in the classroom.

In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.

In a perfect world you could bring this article to your school’s attention and they would say “Brilliant!  We don’t know why we didn’t realize this before now!” …and immediately add more recess time to their daily plan!

Ahhhhh …. probably NOT gonna happen!

What you can CAN CONTROL is what your kids drink first thing in the mornings with their breakfast to help their brains neurological wiring system work at the highest of its ability with Javita’s FocusFusion Cocoa and/or Energy&Mind Coffee (for those children and adolescents that prefer coffee!)

FocusFusion Cocoa and/or Energy&Mind Coffee are both infused with two mentally healing herbs, Bacopa Monnieri and Gotu Kola:

Bacopa Monnieri (also called Brahmi or Water Hyssop) is an Ayurvedic herb with a long and proven history of health benefits. It is said to enhance cognitive ability and is used to consecrate newborns in India to “open the gateway of intelligence.” Laboratory studies show it may improve memory and intellectual activity and it is also a powerful antioxidant which helps our bodies neutralize free radicals. Bacopa can also have a positive effect on anxiety.

Gotu Kola is a type of parsley and is a staple of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine which use Gotu Kola to help heal skin conditions, treat asthma, fever, stomach ulcers and provide mental stimulation. Scientific and medical studies also suggest Gotu Kola can help boost the memory and has a positive effect on anxiety and depression.

If this fidgeting problem is an issue for you child I encourage you to simply take our 18 Day Feel Better Do Better Challenge and see for yourself if your child (and/or you) do not feel a soft calm come over your ability to think and be productive every single day without the use of drugs.

0000 18 day challenge

You are welcome to order yourself online and check the AutoShip box to receive your 30% SAVINGS or you can email me best days and time for me to take your order and I’ll get you 30% SAVINGS without doing AutoShip until you’ve tried it out!

As an Educational Psychologist, I care very much about Healing Today’s Children … and Ourselves and that’s why  I highly recommend these products and encourage you to simply try them and see how you feel in as little as a week.

Reaching out …
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Mary Robinson Reynolds, M.S.
MakeADifference.com/Javita
Founder of Heart Productions & Publishing
Mary@BeHealthyJava.com
603-382-8848 – HPP
TimeTrade.com/book/9Q5QK

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