Supporting Anxious Children with Natural Options
We seem to have a significant increase in parents seeking advice for helping their children with anxiety. Are we just more aware of it or are our children more anxious in the age of Facebook, texting and our complex modern world?
I don' t have the answer to that! I do however have some general advice for parents wanting to get some extra support for their kids who are struggling.
I like to start by narrowing down what we are dealing with. Are they feeling stressed (pressure, a feeling of having lots on, struggling to manage, often specific to a particular event or set of events such as an upcoming school production, a test, struggling in maths??) or...
Are they anxious or panicky. Often vague feeling of nausea, unease, feeling in the pit of stomach, hard to tie it to a particular thing, more an underlying feeling that can peak as an anxiety attack (where they may get a racing heart, sweaty, faint, dizzy, headaches, stomach pains, trouble breathing).
How is their sleep? Are they have difficulty turning off at night and winding down?
Now onto some good supplement options.
MAGNESIUM: this is such an essential nutrient for managing both physical and mental stress. If our kids lack magnesium (which most of them do as it is also used for growing and a whole lot of other things their wee bodies are flat out with at this stage!) it is really hard to manage stress and we can tend towards struggling to cope and getting wound up and really struggling to calm back down. Think of magnesium as the nutrient for chilling out, calming down, relaxing, turning calm productive thinking on and wiring down at night. Kids experiencing growing pains, cramps or fatigue may well be deficient in magnesium. Even if your not deficient a therapeutic dose can still have a great calming effect.
WELDEA SLEEP AND RELAX DROPS: These are excellent as they are a drop so can be used for kids from about 2yrs up and the dose can be easily adjusted. They don't have too much flavour so can be popped in a drink, water bottle, straight in the mouth or added to food. This product contains calming herbs. At a low dose it is good at taking the edge off and at higher doses it becomes a sedative to get kids and adults off to sleep. It contains the tincture of the herbs which is a lovely pure and strong way to dose. Hops (calming, good for anxious tummies and restless legs at night), Oats another calmer (I haven't found the tincture of oat to cause any troubles for gluten avoiding children however I would be cautious in those that are very allergic). Passionflower a great anti-anxiety, stress lowering herb which helps us to cope in stressful situations and valarian which is a very effective sedative.
KIDS CALM: For babies from 0 up. This is pure high strength chamomile in a base of organic rice syrup and vegetable glycerine, with natural strawberry and blackcurrant flavouring. Chamomile is an amazing calming agent. It is also very calming of nervous tummies and many children with anxiety tend to have stomach complaints so this is perfect for those wee ones!
ST JOHNS WORT: Some mums look at me in horror when I suggest this as it is so famous as a treatment for depression. However at higher doses it is actually a fantastic treatment option for anxiety. I have safely used it in quite young children however this needs to be done under qualified advice so for kids under 14 I would recommend booking an appointment to check what dose to take and whether it would be appropriate. For teens one of the lower dose adult ones is usually just fine unless they are on other medications in which case check first!
Lastly but probably most importantly! Children dealing with anxiety and stress need tools to help cope if they are struggling and the problem is ongoing. I have added a link below to a fantastic website I have discovered that goes over practical ways to teach your children and teens to better deal with stress, anxiety and health conditions such as irritable bowel which are worsened by stress. This is such a great way to set your kids up with tools to manage stress for all the stages of their life.