Should I medicate my child or not to help them focus? Does medication actually help with concentration? Are there any other alternatives to help my child focus without medication and to handle concentration problems at school? These are problems parents come up against every day.
Don’t be misled by the “authorities” (teachers and school psychologists) who have been misinformed about the truths on medications such as Ritalin and are quick to offer parents the medical route to handle concentration problems for their child, as that’s “what everyone else is doing”.
For the truth about Ritalin and other prescribed drugs for children's concentration, check out this very informative article on ADD/ADHD: What Doctors Don't Tell You.
So before you consider using medication to "help" your child focus, below are some important factors that can cause concentration problems in children and even adults:
6 Effective Ways to Help Your Child Focus (Without Medication)
1. Poor Diet Slows a Child's Focus and Concentration
- Poor Diet: If the diet is not right and one is eating cheap junk food with no nutrition and no protein or vitamins, then that would definitely affect one’s mood and ability to concentrate. Our foods nowadays are full of preservatives and lack the necessary vitamins and minerals for good health. Ensure your child has a proper diet.
2. Medications and Drugs Stop a Child Focussing
- Medications and Drugs: If one is taking medication or drugs, these would definitely affect focus and mood. Drugs and medicines are essentially poisons and deplete one’s body of vitamins and minerals and create deficiencies. Some cold and flu, allergy medicines, or other medications do affect brain function as well as other organs in the long run.
There is also the sad fact that more and more children are exposed to drugs in schools nowadays. Drug pushers and other not well-intentioned peers or bullies are pushing the false idea that “drugs are cool” and “it’s cool to experiment” and “being naughty is fun” or “a little bit won’t hurt”. Some kids are secretly taking drugs without their parents knowing and this can definitely affect school work. Prevent your child from taking unnecessary medications and drugs.
3. A Stressful Environment Prevents Children from Concentrating
- Stressful Environment: If the home or school environment is stressful (for example; if one is being shouted at a lot, belittled or criticized or threatened in any way; or if there are quarrels at home, parents going through separation or divorce, seeing parents argue), creates a feeling of insecurity for the child and stresses him out.
The above examples cause stress, instability, bottled up anger and upset and can cause a child to have problems concentrating on school work, as his attention is usually stuck on the upsets and worries and not on the school work. Create a safe and happy environment for your child.
4. Insufficient Sleep Slows Down a Child's Ability to Focus
- Insufficient Sleep: if one is not getting enough sleep every night (at least 8-9 hours for a child or teenager who is still growing up) then one will feel tired and moody and will not be able to concentrate well. Ensure your child is getting enough quality sleep.
5. Not Understanding Words in Study Will Block a Child's Concentration
- Misunderstood Words and Symbols: there’s also the fact that the child could have a lot of misunderstood words in his schooling subjects and his teachers or parents are not helping him clear up what he doesn’t fully understand.
This could be happening from way back, several grades ago and now the teachers are having a hard time trying to cram new information on top of a very bad educational foundation; and if the child doesn’t get it, he’s considered stupid. It’s like trying to force a roof on top of a house that has no solid foundation, or like trying to teach you to read a Chinese book and criticizing you for being an idiot for not being able to do it, when you never even fully learned the Chinese alphabet well.If this is the case the child will need to be taken back to the last time he was really doing well in his school work, take him back to a time where he really understood and was happy with his subjects, and start from that point moving forward step by step, picking up any words and concepts he never fully understood and fully clearing those up till he understands those 100%. It’s like filling up the holes in the weak educational foundation.Misunderstood words are the cause of stupidity (this was discovered by renowned philosopher L Ron Hubbard). Misunderstood words make one go blank, tired, confused, have a feeling of being zoned out and unable to concentrate in class, feeling unable to remember what one just read or heard, and can make one upset. It’s a proven fact.Any subject you feel stupid in, I can bet that you've got lots of words in it you don't fully understand. For example, many people fail at maths or hate maths and here's why. Do they even know what the word Mathematics means; or what the definition of Algebra is; or what does one use Algebra for in life? If they don’t know, then it’s no wonder they would hate maths and not succeed in it. Using a good dictionary; help your child understand the words and symbols they come across.
6. Lacking a Purpose Can Cause a Child to Not Focus
- Lack of Purpose: not having a purpose in life and in school can be a cause of boredom and concentration problems in class. If a child is never given the purpose of a subject, or any activity, he will have little or no interest in it and will not want to study it and may fail.
A child who has a purpose in life, for example he wants to be a pilot one day, it’s important for teachers and parents to keep that purpose alive for the child. Purpose is what gives us the energy to wake up each morning and to pursue our goals and dreams. So if you remind your child that in order to be a good pilot one day, you need to go to school and learn maths and science and geography, you need to do sports and exercises as that will give you a fit and healthy body so you can fly a plane for long hours etc. will keep him focussed. He has a reason to study and learn.Always align how any activity or subject will in some way be beneficial and help him achieve his goals in life. Find a way to give it a purpose he can agree with and he can see the value of learning that subject and doesn’t feel forced to study it because his parents want him to. Work on getting his agreement and willingness. Once he sees that, he will be willing to put in the effort to study it and overcome barriers he will encounter along the way with more enthusiasm. Help your child find and follow their true purposes.
Warning: Using ADHD/ADD Medications to Help Your Child Focus
Medication such as Ritalin, Concerta, or any other mind altering psychiatric drug will never be the solution to concentration problems in schools. It will make your child into a puppet zombie who will lose his innate creativity and be a robot who obeys without thinking for himself. Children on Ritalin often end up experimenting with other drugs and can end up becoming drug addicts.
Pushing dangerous psychiatric drugs on children and adolescents in schools and universities is damaging, not only for the child, but also to South Africa. Using alternatives to help your child focus without medication will be the best thing a parent can do for the health of their child.
Natural Health Products for Children's Focus and Concentration
Aside from the above solutions to help a child focus without medication, natural alternatives should always be sought. Try one of our natural health products for focus and concentration.