The summer has flown by… gone are the days of late nights and sleeping in for children and parents alike. September is suddenly upon us and it’s ‘back to school time’! We are all trying to get back into a routine of early mornings, busy getting our kids to all the extra activities after school, finding time for homework and dinner. This time of year can have a huge impact on all of us, more energy is required, and our kids need more attention and reassurance. We are all readjusting to the new school year, whether it is the first day of school, starting secondary school or the added pressure of an exam year. Our health can be affected in many ways. The immune system can become depleted leading to more infections, picking up any viruses at school, coughs, colds, tummy bugs and loads more.
Some children can find it hard to separate from Mum in the mornings, others have poor concentration, anxiety or even depression. If there is already a condition present for example asthma, attacks or episodes of breathlessness can become more frequent either due to anxiety, change in temperature or environments influences like having to be in a classroom, different smells etc.
There is often great excitement at this time of year as children are full of enthusiasm about starting or returning back to school. For the most part this transition is usually painless, but for others this change can be overwhelming as the child struggles to readjust. The good news whether your concern relates to physical or emotional worries, is that Homeopathy can offer a range of excellent supports to help your child march confidently through their school years. So, this month I’ll be focusing on how homeopathic remedies can help to make this transition easier for your childen. Homeopathy provides safe, non-toxic, non-addictive, non-invasive remedies to help them do and feel their best through all the mental, emotional and physical challenges of school. Remedies can be purchased from most large health food shops or from the following Homeopathic pharmacies: Ainsworths, Helios and Nelsons.
Homeopathy for the Anxious Child
- Pulsatilla: An excellent remedy for children who find times of change difficult – this remedy can ease the way through such times. Children needing this remedy tend to be very sensitive, yielding and highly emotional, needing lots of affection and support. Children display their anxiety by excessive clinginess and whining. Older children can become very quiet and moody. They may lie in bed with overactive minds, thinking the same thoughts over and over, especially at times of change in their lives. Once asleep, they tend to have anxious dreams with twitching limbs.
- Gelsemium: This is a superb remedy for acute anticipation and apprehension in which the child seizes up with fear – trembling, stuttering, unable to think correctly. Very useful before the first day of school, before exams, public speeches, performances etc. I generally suggest giving this remedy the night before an event of causing anxiety, such as starting school, and again the morning of the event.
- Argentum nitricum: This remedy can look much like Gelsemium in that it has strong anticipatory anxiety with loose stools. Children needing this remedy are often overly emotional with vivid imaginations. Arg nit has to do with a dread of ordeals and a strong lack of confidence about a new situation.
- Calcarea carbonica: Children needing this remedy tend to be happy and easy-going for the most part, but can get very anxious with worries about small things. They are usually easily distracted from their worries, but when left with time to think, will start worrying anew. Children needing this remedy are often slow, a bit sluggish, and almost always very obstinate – this trait being especially visible when worried. Calc carb children tend to perspire at night, especially around the head.
- Arsenicum album: This homeopathic medicine is indicated when your child is very restless and insecure with their anxiety. They may show a degree of exhaustion but you know this tiredness has an emotional basis and is linked to anxiety. Children needing this remedy will make lots of plans and organise themselves carefully to reduce their anxiety. They are likely to organise themselves, their clothes, their school supplies, their schedule impeccably – to assure that nothing goes wrong, nothing is out of their control.
- Aconite: Give this homeopathic remedy when your child is extremely fearful with marked restlessness. They cannot sit still and may actually have a scared expression. This is also the main acute homeopathic medicine for panic style attacks with a hard beating heart, sensation of not being able to get enough air, and feeling faint.
- Lycopodium: This homeopathic remedy is indicated when your child is fearful that they will fail and look foolish or incompetent in front of others. They are likely to cover this anxiety up with an overly confident manner but they don’t feel confident. Often these types will perform very well each time but still have the preceding anxiety.
I often recommend Calcarea phosphorica tissue salt: This cell salt helps the body resolve growing pains, study headaches, acute anaemia, and many more symptoms related to growing up. At any age its support applies to structural stresses– injured bones, slow healing wounds, joint pain, back pain, weak digestion, acute simple anaemia and heavy periods. Key indicators include a desire for change or travel, cravings for fatty, salty foods and intolerance to dairy products or fruit.
Nutrition for the Anxious Child
It is important to watch your child’s sugar intake if they are feeling anxious. Anxiety makes the adrenal glands work as it causes over production of both cortisol and adrenaline amongst other hormones. The adrenal glands also have to work hard with a diet high in sugar so frequent sources of protein in snacks/meals is important such as nuts and seeds, humus with carrot sticks, eggs, meat and fish. This balances the blood sugar and takes the load off those adrenal glands.
There are certain supplements that will help support your child’s system and ensure they have the best resources available to help them cope:
- Magnesium is important for many systems in the body but will also help your child be calm at night for restful sleep.
- Multi B vitamin: B vitamins are very important for the nervous system so adequate intake is essential.
- Vitamin C supports the adrenal glands and as they work extra hard in times of anxiety this is key. This will also help stave off any colds and boost the immune system.
* Note: Please note the advice above is suitable for acute situations, severe or chronic anxiety needs a consultation with a professional Homeopath.
Wishing everyone all the best with the back to school start!
Ulrike Holzer LSECH MSCH MARH