I work in a health food grocery store and am shocked at how many parents come in looking for a “natural” pill to help their kids with ADHD. I usually just direct them to the organic produce section of the store and encourage them to begin with a healthier diet, devoid of artificial colors, processed ingredients, etc. As a teacher for many years, I’ve seen kids “diagnosed” with disorders and as I watch them in class or at play, it occurs to me that they might just be really active, which is not something that needs medication. My solution was two-fold: encourage the parents to stop sending garbage food to class with their kids, and to encourage their kids to be active. One of the healthiest activities I could recommend was gymnastics, especially when the child is allowed to continue it at home after practice at the gym.
To encourage your kids to do gymnastics at home might seem a little scary simply because they could get hurt; at a gym they have a spotter and qualified teacher to prevent this, but at home, perhaps the best injury prevention is simply good, solid, safe gymnastics equipment specially designed for the home. We’re not talking uneven bars or rings, but simple things that will get the kids motivated to be active: gymnastics or tumbling mats, low-rise balance beams, tumbling octagons, and incline mats. These affordable, safe apparatus can take all that pent-up energy in a child and channel it into activity that will allow them to learn to control their bodies, to focus, and to grow.
I’m not saying there aren’t children who benefit from prescription solutions, but when your child just won’t sit still, remember – she’s a child, and children were made to be explorers. You can’t do that sitting still. They need to explore their world, the abilities of their own bodies, and even how adults will respond to their actions. If you offer a child some gymnastics equipment at home, even without enrolling in a class, you provide them with the means to be fidgety, active, and a little crazy in a safe environment. It’s even better if you join them on the mats. Then they learn that activity is not something to be stilled, but something they can plan to embrace even into adulthood.