While a lot of parents get excited about their kids starting a new school year as it is filled with many opportunities for the child to grow and learn, it is also a common knowledge that the constant mental and physical stimulation can leave the child feeling fatigued after each day.
A recent Harvard Health reveals that it’s quite common for young children to feel tired after a busy morning at school. Fatigue can also set in if your child doesn’t sleep or eat well, feels stressed or anxious, or is experiencing overstimulation from new activities.
However, if your child complains of feeling tired all the time and her fatigue is preventing her from enjoying normal, daily activities, it’s important to see your doctor and have your child assessed, as she could be experiencing chronic fatigue – which is a more serious health condition.
Some possible causes of chronic fatigue are:
- Side-effects from medications
- Infections such as Epstein-Barr virus
- Chronic health problems such as asthma
- Heart problems
How to help your child cope with normal fatigue
According to Desi Horsman, who is a clinical nutritionist, wellness expert and speaker, a holistic approach to your child’s overall health and wellbeing is the key to managing fatigue in the long term.
Below are some of his suggestions on how to properly manage your child’s chronic fatigue.
Don’t overschedule your child in the week
Desi says, “Most children (regardless of their age) need some downtime in the afternoons after school, so avoid over-scheduling your child – especially in the first term. If your child is still napping, guard that nap like gold and let him rest after a busy day.
Quiet time is great for older kids. Enjoy quiet, relaxing activities at home such as reading, playing quiet games, spending time outdoors in nature and swimming in summer. Avoid too much screen-time as this can contribute to eye fatigue.”
Focus on a healthy diet and small, regular meals
There’s no doubt that most little children prefer to snack on smaller meals throughout the day, rather than sitting down to 2 to 3 main meals.
- Ensure your child eats a variety of healthy snacks that are low in sugar to prevent blood sugar dips and spikes.
- Always stick to whole foods that are as close to their natural form. Highly processed foods like energy bars and drinks are actually energy-draining in the long run.
- Make sure that every meal includes fresh food like carrot sticks, cucumbers, apple slices and so on.
- Lunchboxes should have a variety of snacks like fruits, nuts (unless your child’s school is nut-free), and fresh veggies that can be snacked on throughout the day for energy.
- Nut butters are a great high energy food.
- Sugary foods, including those that are considered healthy, like muffins, should only have a tiny place in your child’s diet and are best left as treats for appropriate times and not lunchboxes.
Don’t underestimate the true value of sleep
School-age children need between 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to reach their full potential during the day (and avoid falling asleep in the late afternoon). Sleep is the key to combating fatigue!
Include more fruits and veggies in your child’s diet
A diet rich in essential phytonutrients from fruits and veggies is a must. Not only do these foods boost your child’s immune system and feed every cell and muscle in the body, but they also help your child to do more in the day, and sleep better as a result.