The Struggle with Focus and Sleep: Helping your Child find Peace
Written by: brown1h
One of the hardest things for parents is seeing their child suffer. It’s especially hard when you don’t know what to do to help your child. Two of the most common struggles that parents see their children suffering from are trouble focusing and trouble sleeping. These both can affect your child’s mental and physical health negatively. There are some things you can do to help your child if they’re struggling with these things and there are also ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What’s causing my child’s lack of focus?
The first step is to identify why your child is struggling in the first place. Understanding the root cause of the struggle helps you to gain insight into why your child struggles and what you can do to help them.
Some telltale signs of a child that has a difficult time concentrating are forgetfulness, not paying attention to you when you talk to them and moving and fidgeting when you speak as if they’re having trouble sitting still. If your child shows any of these signs then it may be time to look into their daily lives.
Is your child getting enough sleep at night? Tired children don’t have the energy to focus and they may seem like they’re living in a constant daydream. Helping your child get the sleep they need at night can go a long way towards fixing any problems concentrating. Examine your child’s sleep schedule and try to get them to bed a little earlier, or if that’s not possible and the child is young enough add a nap into their afternoon.
Going hand in hand with sleep is nutrition. A lack of nutrition can also lead to a zoned-out child because they don’t have the energy to focus. This can be an issue with the types of food they’re eating, or the amount of food they’re eating. It can be difficult to get a picky eater to eat enough sometimes but it’s important in the battle for improved focus. Try to find a few foods that your child will eat and offer them more frequently in hopes of getting your child to eat more. If your child is eating plenty you might want to look at what they’re eating. I know life can get busy and we don’t always have the time to put homemade meals on the table but eating too much junk food can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause health issues including poor concentration. Try to make sure your child is eating according to the food pyramid and encourage healthy snacks like fruit and veggies over junk food.
If your child is getting enough sleep and eating the proper foods then there might be something in their environment that is causing stress. Stress leads to difficulty concentrating. If your child is too worried about something going on in their lives then they’re not going to be able to focus on anything else. Try talking to your child and asking them how things are going with their friends, their siblings and their school. Ask them if there’s anything on their mind that they’re worried about or that they can’t stop thinking about. Even good stress can cause trouble concentrating.
If you’ve ruled out stress, food and sleep then you might want to consider talking to a medical professional. There are a variety of medical reasons that could cause trouble concentrating ranging from vision issues to low blood sugar levels. The good news is that no matter what’s causing your child’s problems focusing it’s more than likely easy to fix. Start with your family doctor and branch out from there. It may be as simple as a new pair of glasses!
What’s causing my child’s trouble sleeping?
If your child seems sleepy during the day, is having trouble concentrating or has started showing signs of behavioural issues such as increased anger or sadness then your child might be having trouble sleeping. Knowing why your child is having trouble sleeping allows you to figure out what you need to do to help fix the problem.
If your child is a young toddler then their sleep issues might be caused by growing independence. They don’t want to go to sleep and they’re curious about the world keeps them awake. Basically, they don’t want to miss a thing. This can be helped by establishing and sticking to a bedtime routine. For the most part, it’s something they’re going to have to grow out of. Some small children also experience nightmares or night terrors. The war between independence and the need for security comes into play here. Help your child by adding a nightlight to the space, staying with them as they fall asleep and talking through their nightmares with them. It might also help to allow them to have a blanket, toy or stuffed animal that they love to help them feel more secure.
Having a set bedtime routine can help with a lot of the problems associated with sleep in your children. The routine should be the same thing every night that signals your child that it’s time to go to bed. Start by doing a comforting activity like having a bath or reading them a book. Make sure there are no electronics being used in the hours close to bedtime as this can cause sleep issues. After your quiet activity helps your child wind down, help them brush their teeth, and get changed into their pyjamas. Then move on to the bedroom. This room should be quiet, dark and the same space every night.
It’s possible that your child’s inability to sleep is caused by a physical or mental issue that might need medical attention. Stress and anxiety can cause a lack of sleep. So can physical issues like sleep apnea. If your child is snoring very loudly at night then it’s possible they might have an allergy or inflammation of their lungs or throat that makes it difficult for them to breathe. Difficulty breathing leads to difficulty sleeping. Your family doctor can help you figure out the cause if you’ve tried a consistent bedtime routine and it’s not working.
Seeing your child struggle with sleep problems or trouble focusing can be tough on parents. The good news is that the solution to these problems is usually an easy fix. If you’ve tried the above tips and your child is still having troubles always seek out the help of a medical professional.