Because we were told by the boy’s pediatrician, No ADHD medications at all until we can get in to see the psychiatrist (yay!), the first thing we need to work on is getting the boy to a functional point. What I mean by this is, something has to help with the extreme hyperactivity and extreme mouthiness that is happening with this child. The mad firing of impulses in my 5-year-old’s brain doesn’t allow him to know when to quit. We decided to continue giving the boy fish oil, which is supposed to help brain development and is especially good for people with ADHD, as suggested in this article from ADDitude Magazine. But I also decided to double check his diet for dyes, especially Red #40. (For one of many many red #40 articles, see NPR’s website story, “FDA Probes Link Between Food Dyes, Kids’ Behavior“).
The first thing I did was to read all the food labels in our cupboards. I was feeling pretty proud of myself because I’ve never been too much of a “cook from a box” type of gal. I send foods like trail mix, or animal crackers, cheese sticks, fruit, and Danimal smoothies and 100% fruit juice boxes in my son’s lunch box (he hates sandwiches at school). So far, so good. But then I look at the animal crackers I’ve been sending. (I mean animal crackers, it’s not like they’re oreo’s right?) Red dye #40. Then the sweet & salty nut mix, Red #40! Then the Dannon light & fit I put into his all natural, healthy fruit smoothies… Red dye #40! (And if the yogurt had no red tint in it, like lime flavor, I found yellow #6.) Doritos even cool ranch… Red #40. It’s hidden in all kinds of foods that wouldn’t necessarily be obvious. Box chocolate pudding? Why? Shouldn’t the ingredient “chocolate” be enough to color the pudding brown? After the initial shock wore off, from the fact that I’ve pretty much been packing the equivalent of kiddie crack in my son’s school lunchbox every day… I said to myself, ok this is it, no more dye in our food. Lets give this a try. That’s when my son walked into my room with a purple stained mouth. Oh no, the popsicles!
“1-2-3 Magic” involves counting your child for bad behavior. For example, your child talks back to you…you say “That’s 1”. They do it again, you say “That’s 2”, and again you say “That’s 3, Take 5” (or 1 minute per age of the child). Hitting is an automatic time-out.