The Kid Project
Not sure who can relate, but sometimes figuring out my kids feels like a bigger project than figuring out myself! They can’t always describe how they’re feeling, and I don’t always know the right questions to ask to elicit a more descriptive response.
As they get older, kids just want to fit in, so sometimes they lie or withhold truths because they’re afraid something will be taken away or they will somehow be forced to do something different from all the other “normal” kids.
Despite the challenges, it’s important to check in with our kids once in a while and make sure they’re feeling good physically as well as emotionally. (Ask your kids if they poop every day—you might be surprised by the answer!) And summer break is a great time to work on any issues which may have popped up over the past school year that there wasn’t time to fully address.
Common symptoms in children that could stem from issues in the gut
Common issues I see in children of all ages—from babies to college-bound teens frequently
Difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
Chronic ear/sinus infections
Fortunately, all of these issues have a common theme: the gut! So we can start there in calming the inflammation that is ultimately expressed in these symptoms. Yes, even skin and mood conditions can start in the gut!
Specifically, infection or dysbiosis (bacterial or yeast overgrowth) is a common underlying contributor, as well as residual inflammation related to processed food, prescription medications, and environmental toxin exposure. Sluggish digestion can just make things worse and perpetuate the cycle of inflammation.
Usually for most, the main theme for all of these issues and gut dysfunction is low beneficial bacteria.
This is what I call “the beginning of the end” when things start to go downhill - because beneficial bacteria support multiple immune, metabolic, and digestive functions (and is the hub of communication for the rest of the body), the whole body can suffer when they are low. A common reason for low beneficial bacteria in children is prescription antibiotic use (especially before age 1) and/or C-section birth.
"My Kid has one or more of the symptoms in your list, what do I do now?"
Regardless of the symptoms, the gut is never a bad place to start in working to reverse symptoms. First, it is important to remove infection or balance dysbiosis (a common root cause of symptoms), and only then is it possible to repair any residual damage in the intestinal lining. (If the house is on fire, put out the fire before painting the walls. Watch my explanation of this metaphor here)
First thing's first in solving gut infection or dysbiosis: Reduce Gluten, Dairy & other potential irritants
To do this, I typically recommend reducing potential irritants like gluten, dairy, and sometimes other foods like high-fiber or fermented foods depending on the reason for infection/inflammation. I also typically employ nutritional supplements to speed up the process and support the immune system.
Resolve, Reintroduce, & Renovate
After 8-12 weeks of this process, usually digestion normalizes and often energy and/or sleep improve. Skin and mood may still not be great, but often there is some level of improvement. Then, we can work on repairing any remaining damage in the intestinal lining, and begin to restore optimal function (fire is out-time to renovate!). This usually requires 2-3 supplements for 2-3 months, but sometimes at this point we can reintroduce foods that were previously bothersome. Reintroducing food is so exciting because food itself can bring joy, but also because we know the process is working which is very encouraging!
Prevention and Maintenance
From this point, prevention and maintenance are the name of the game. It may seem like everything I just described is the “hard part,” but honestly I find keeping people well can be a little harder! That is mainly because our confidence increases as we start to feel better, and so some will venture out more with food or slack a little on preventative measures. However, it is also amazing how well the body responds when we just give it a few basic things regularly: whole, nutritious food; adequate sleep; fun and relationships; and stress support as needed. Finding a balance is often a lifelong journey, but often easier once symptoms have resolved because there is usually motivation to prevent recurrence or relapse.
Health is the Best Gift
I absolutely love watching families improve their nutrition and overall health through just a few focused months of dedication to healing support. Kids especially are so resilient, and with the right tools, they bounce back so beautifully. Skin, mood, digestion, sleep—they can improve with just a little nudge in the right direction. And as parents, it’s so empowering to watch them learn about their bodies and experience positive effects based on lifestyle changes. I think helping our kids learn to listen to their bodies and make changes accordingly is truly one of the best gifts we can give them!
I'm here to help! If you're concerned or have specific questions about your child's health or they are experiencing some of the symptoms I mentioned in this blog, schedule a free 15 minute Intro Call and let's discuss what's going on + how we can get to the root cause this summer.