Naturopath for Children – Where to start
We know that children’s health depends on what we feed them and how well their digestive systems are functioning. A healthy digestive function ensures absorption of nutritious meals. Research also shows that exercise is a key element in keeping our kids healthy.
All too often, we see children with conditions such as obesity, allergies, asthma, ADHD, autism, eczema and other skin conditions. These ailments have a negative impact on children and their families, depriving them of energy and enthusiasm for life.
Don’t continue worrying over things you aren’t sure of when you can get expert advice on their health, including healthy eating across a range of child development stages. Good nutrition is vitally important for children of all ages to ensure optimal growth and development and to minimise risks of chronic conditions later in life.
Our Naturopath may recommend testing that can indicate which nutrients are lacking in your child’s diet or which ones are not being absorbed.
It’s also important to note that a child’s requirements for energy, vitamins and minerals change according to different developmental stages. As a parent, you are busy enough with daily life to be expected to know the ins and outs of these requirements which is where the support of a qualified nutrition specialist and naturopath to help you practically understand and apply strategies to family life is so beneficial.
Whatever your child’s needs might be, we work with you and your family to find practical strategies that promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle for all involved.
How Can a Naturopath for Teenagers and Children Help?
Understanding a new diagnosis/ treating an existing condition
First and foremost our Naturopath for Teenagers and Children can help by ensuring a good understanding of what is occurring when there are health concerns. This can be done via assessment of the signs and symptoms, relevant testing and/or by working with their GP to understand an existing diagnosis if required. Often after presenting to us, we can identify the issue and move ahead with treatment without testing. We are here to support you in the way that works best and as we see health issues as ‘imbalances’ we work to create better balance via diet and lifestyle changes firstly and testing and supplements as they are indicated.
Our Naturopaths can assist with a range of health concerns such as:
- Recurrent colds and flu
- Ongoing Ear & Throat Infections
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances
- Allergies, Eczema & other skin conditions
- Fussy eating and associated challenges
- Vegetarian/vegan diets
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Weight management including poor weight gain
- Mental health challenges
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Asperges Syndrome (AS)
- Anxiety or Behavioral Issues.
Education and Ongoing Support
We also provide education, resources and support in how to encourage healthy eating and behaviours and manage health conditions Our primary goal is to improve nutritional intake, vital for meeting the requirements of vitamin and mineral intake associated with growth and development. Diet advice can be tailored to relevant health conditions your child is living with. Setting goals and inspiring change can play a big role in how your child responds to the attention placed on their health and coming up with a rewards system early on can often be a great motivating factor! We can help you come up with ideas for what works well to keep them on track.
Identifying the cause, not just treating the symptoms and testing options
Naturopaths are well known for their detective skills when it comes to clearly understand the ‘why’ of a health problem. Testing may not always be necessary. In some cases after a good discussion with you, we can decide if tests are a worthwhile option. Our Naturopaths can walk you through the options available including blood spot tests (finger prick) and alternative ways to draw blood such as heel prick method (instead of via the vein in the elbow crease), designed especially for children. Urine testing may also be suggested as an easy way to get relevant information, including urinary pyrrole and OATS (Organic Acids Test) which looks at a wide range of markers of health. Stool testing is also an option when there is digestive health concerns.
Testing options include in the house (finger prick for food intolerances), referral to blood tests (usually to assess nutrients) either via your GP or directly to a pathology lab and at home urine and stool testing.
Using the Healing Power of Nature and supporting the body to heal itself
Wherever possible we can use ‘Food as Medicine’ to make the desired changes to health, after all, food is our everyday medicine! At times, we may suggest a supplement (often short term) to help those changes come along in an acceptable time frame. Nutrients, when professionally prescribed, are safe to take at any age and there are many herbs that have popular use in both children and teenagers to give those growing bodies some extra support when it’s needed most.
For teenagers, your body is going through a lot of changes during a relatively short period of time. Hormonal changes can mean that health concerns arise for the first time such as acne or period pain or there could be an ongoing problem such as never outgrowing childhood asthma or eczema. Our naturopath can help guide and reassure teenagers about how to develop and maintain a healthy body via food and to establish healthy lifestyle habits and an overall optimal nutrient status that will set them up for their long-term health. It is common to experience a rapid growth period at this time and if you would like support with gaining weight or preventing gaining excess weight during this time, our naturopath can provide you with the education and advice needed to achieve this in a positive and sustainable way. Our naturopath can also provide advice on vegetarian/vegan diets if you are wanting to follow a plant-based diet but aren’t sure where to start or would just like to make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Areas our naturopath can help you with:
- Weight management/weight gain
- Vegetarian/vegan diets
- Nutrient deficiencies, e.g. iron-deficiency anaemia
- Hormonal imbalances & menstrual cycles
- Nutrition for energy and concentration during stressful periods, e.g. exam time
- Nutrition for skin health, especially hormonal acne
- Nutrition for sports and exercise
What’s Involved in Seeing a Naturopath for Teenagers and Children?
During your initial appointment, our naturopath will have an open and confidential discussion with you around your/ your child’s relevant social, medical and weight background, current medications, recent pathology results, clinical symptoms, usual foods and drinks eaten, timings of meals, eating behaviours and physical activity levels to assess your/your child’s current health situation. This helps our dietitian to understand your/your child’s needs and personal goals to tailor your session.
Our naturopath will include assessment and tracking of growth status using growth charts and body mass index calculations. Our naturopath will be able to answer health-related queries and provide a timeline to achieve health goals and implement a plan that suits the needs, along with explanations of the relationship between conditions and diet so you understand your condition better and why changes may be necessary for your child and family.
You will receive nutrition education to equip you with the skills and confidence to make your own educated choices. Our naturopath will discuss various nutrition strategies so that you can set achievable and realistic goals with ongoing support and motivation to make changes for the long term.
How Often Will I Need To See A Naturopath for Teenagers and Children?
After the initial appointment with our Naturopath for Teenagers and Children, the first follow-up consult will usually be encouraged every 2-4 weeks. This helps to ensure you have been able to implement any negotiated strategies, make any adjustments to the meal plan and provide support and accountability while making changes to your usual diet. Subsequent consultations are then scheduled as often as people find necessary for ongoing support.