One of the most highly ignored areas when it comes to a child’s achievement is their overall health. If a child’s body and brain are not functioning optimally it can have massive implications on learning and success. If your child presents as ‘sluggish’, tired or constantly fatigued, it is important that their health is looked at more closely to see whether there are any underlying physical issues causing them not to reach their performance potential. Health issues such as sleep apnoea, ear infections, allergies, asthma, poor sleep, bowel issues, poor diet, or poor absorption of nutrients may be contributing to their underperformance. A full GP screen and blood testing may be recommended. If no significant medical issues are found then the areas below should be considered.
NUTRITION & BOWEL HEALTH:
Having a healthy and varied diet is essential to brain functioning and development. If a child has a good diet but poor bowel functioning, this can impact on the child’s ability to properly absorb nutrients, resulting in similar lack of optimal health. You can’t expect a child to ‘run’ at the highest level of potential if they are relying on poor ‘fuel’ or the ‘fuel tank’ is leaky.
Sleep is vital to overall brain health. Children with poor sleep often struggle to pay attention in school and can appear ‘dreamy’ and distracted. Some children need more sleep than others and some children sleep excessively and still wake fatigued. A proper balance needs to be reached and any issues affecting sleep (eg. anxiety, sleep apnoea, too much night-time stimulation etc) need to be addressed. Blue light filters may need to be imposed, and sleep hygiene addressed. As adults we are aware that when we do not sleep properly the first thing affected is our energy and attention levels. Many children have extremely poor sleep, struggling to get to sleep and waking in the night. Without first addressing these issues, cognitive issues and disorders like ADHD cannot be clearly understood in regards to whether the disorder is developmental in origin, or simply a result of poor sleep creating temporary and reversible brain dysregulation.
Exercise is important to a child’s overall well-being. An unhealthy, unfit or overweight child is not likely to be able to perform at optimal levels compared to when they are at their best possible level of physical health