How to help my child focus without medication

Most medications for improving a child’s focus have negative side effects. Sometimes the side effects are significant enough that these outweigh the benefit. When side effects are too severe, parents often ask, “How do I help my child focus without medication?”

How to help my child focus without medication

There are many ways to help your child focus without medication and the three ways are discussed below are use a focus item, provide a visual reminder, and change your child’s diet.  Usually a combination of these approaches helps maximize your child’s focusing without using medication.

Use a focus item

There are attentional controls in our fingertips so when a child’s fingertips are activated his attention improves. You may have noticed your child has busy hands and often drums fingers, touches things, or tears at napkins. This helps a child focus but many adults find these behaviors as annoying. Give your child a small item to hold that can be squeezed, rubbed, or squished. This is a focus item. The item becomes a learning tool rather than a toy. I wrote a children’s book that you can read to your child to explain what a focus item is and how to use it. The book is called Terrific Teddy’s Focus Friend and it’s available on Amazon. Kids enjoy the pictures and listening as you read the text. I recommend you read it at least once or twice a week for a month because this keeps the focus item strategy fresh in your child’s mind.

Elementary teachers often read this book to their class to help their students learn how to increase their focus. Then the teacher places a basket of focus items in the classroom so any child can use it when they need to focus such as during seat work. Some parents buy two copies and give one to the teacher so the teacher and parent are on the same page.  The focus item is one way to help a child focus without medication.

Provide a visual reminder

Most people are visual. When we go into a room, office, or auditorium we look around to see what is hanging on the wall or displayed. We visually look at others: the shape of a person’s nose, size of their body, height, and other physical features. This visual inspection naturally occurs.

You can help your child increase her focus by providing a visual reminder that’s constantly in front of her. Use a plastic bracelet with the word ‘focus’ written on it rather than a saying like ‘Live Strong.’ These are available for purchase on the internet and an example is here. Another visual is a personalized pencil and rather than your child’s name on the pencil, personalize it with “keep working, keep listening.” These subtle visual reminders will help your child remember to focus.

Change your child’s diet

Most children do not eat as well as they should. Parents are busy and kids are picky eaters so this is a recipe for a battle and who want’s to battle at 6pm? Nevertheless, your child’s focusing difficulty may be nutrition related because most kids eat too much processed food high in sugar and carbs without enough protein. A book I find valuable is The ADHD and ADD Diet! by Peiper and Bell. These two are the authorities so don’t buy any other diet book because with self-publishing on Amazon there are many useless knock offs. Follow Peiper and Bell’s diet with your child and I believe your see your child’s focus noticeably increase.

These three ideas help my child focus without medication and they can help your child too.