Natural Ways to Help Your Child Focus in School

A lack of concentration in school can be a problem in some children.  A small percentage of children truly have an attention disorder. For the majority of children, however, a lack of concentration can simply be from the foods they eat or other factors.


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Whether you’ve just begun homeschooling or have homeschooled for years, you’ve probably experienced that “throw your hands in the air in frustration” at a child’s lack of concentration.  Besides doing your best to use curriculums that are interesting and to lovingly training your child, there are some children who just have a hard time focusing no matter what you do.

Before we talk about natural ways to help your child focus in school, let’s discuss some possible reasons your child may have a hard time concentrating.


A small percentage of children do have a true attention disorder.  Symptoms can include constant fidgeting, talking excessively, often interrupting others, won’t make eye contact, doesn’t respond to his/her name, etc.  If you have lovingly trained your child but still see consistent signs of not being able to concentrate, he may have a true attention problem.  These attention disorders can be from exposure to toxins and factors of diet.

Processed Foods and Sugar Intake

Many processed foods contain food dyes and additives that affect the brain and can make a child more easily distracted and hyperactive.

In 1822 Americans consumed an average of 2 teaspoons of sugar a day.  The average American today consumes a cup and a half a day!  This increase in sugar is seen in the increase of obesity, diabetes, and more!  Sugar also has a great influence on behavior and brain function.  When large amounts of sugar are consumed {as it is in our day}, the body releases large amounts of insulin.  This wreaks havoc on the brain and nervous system which can cause agitation, depression, anger, and anxiety.

Natural Ways to Help Your Child Focus in School

Whether your child has a true attention disorder or only has a mild case of hyperactivity, I believe the suggested remedies below can make a great difference!

Diet Change

Limit sugar intake and make as many foods from scratch as you can–that way you can know what is in your food!  Watch for food dyes and ingredients such as MSG {monosodium glutamate}, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.  Read the ingredients of everything you eat!

Supplements That Help Brain Function

Administer a good quality cod liver oil and coconut oil 3 times a day to help the function of the brain and lessen hyperactivity.  Also, a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement is important as well.

Detox Bath

We are so overloaded with toxins in our day that taking a detox bath from time to time is a good idea.  One of my favorite ways to do this is by taking a clay bath.  You can read clay bath instructions here.

Castor Oil Packs

According to “Be Your Own Doctor“, warm castor oil packs have helped many hyperactive children.  To make a castor oil pack, soak a cloth in castor oil and apply it to the abdomen of the child, cover the cloth with a piece of plastic, place a heating pad on the plastic, and cover the top with a towel to help hold the heat in.  Leave in place for 30 minutes.  This is easiest done at naps, bedtime, or during a quiet, laid-back school subject.  Best results are seen when this is repeated consistently.

DIY Calming Tincture

Making a tincture with herbs that helps to calm hyperactivity and anxiety is another way to help a child focus in school.  One calming herb is lemon balm.  Here’s a simple tincture you can make:


Dried Lemon Balm
Dried Spearmint Leaves {or peppermint leaves}
Food-Grade Vegetable Glycerin
Quart Jar


  • Place 1/2 cup of the mint leaves and 1/2 cup of lemon balm leaves in a quart jar. {Use a cup each of the herbs if using fresh instead of dried}.
  • Fill the jar 3/4 of the way with food-grade glycerin.  Fill the jar up the rest of the way with water, leaving a headspace, and screw on lid.
  • Line the bottom of a crockpot with a towel and place the jar in the crockpot.
  • Fill the crockpot with water, making sure most of the jar is immersed in water.  Add more water daily as needed to make sure the jar stays covered with water up to the bottom of the lid.
  • Turn crockpot on low for 3 days, making sure you shake the jar once a day or take off the lid and stir contents daily.
  • After 3 days, strain the herbs from the liquid using a fine strainer or white cotton material.

To administer the tincture, give 1/8 a teaspoon 1-4 times a day to children under 12.  For children over 12, give 1/4 teaspoon.

Do you have a child that has a hard time focusing in school? What ways have you found to help him/her pay attention better?

FDA disclaimer for posts with info about supplements Oct 2014

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  1. I avoid artificial food color especially. It’s been shown to cause hyperactivity in all children, although the effect is more pronounced in children sensitive to the colors or who have ADHD. Red #40 is the worst… it sends my youngest on quite the ride. and I always talk to the pharmacy because it’s in some meds, even ADHD meds. Natural colors (like the mineral ones in most meds) are fine.

    1. Great point, Michelle! I’ve heard about some ingredients being in medicine that have been banned in food. We do have to watch the medicine ingredients too!

  2. Gluten and even dairy free diet can help,…I have a hard time with this as my spectrum kid is a very picky eater thanks to sensory issues. I like rosemary plants indoors, just not good at keeping plants alive inside.

  3. This article only focuses on diet and possible remedies. Boys need lots of physical activity and young children need to play or do “P.E” to get some of their energy out before sitting down to daily assignments. I wish the article could have mention other factors than diet. This article could have been written better.

  4. ADHD is not caused by diet or exposure to environmental toxins. There is heavy evidence of a genetic factor, however. It is an actual neurological difference in the brain. Some symptoms can be eased by diet but ADHD is never healed or outgrown. Agreeing with previous poster that exercise and physical exertion can make a helpful difference in ability to concentrate in the time immediately following exercise.

  5. Another cause for inattentiveness and fidgeting might be that they are bored with the curriculum style or the way it is being taught. My 13 year old does not do well with many “boxed” curriculums. She also has dyslexia which can sometimes look just like ADD/ADHD. Her brain gets tired very easily because it has to work that much harder.

  6. Hi! My 7 year old daughter isn’t hyperactive, but she is spending too much time daydreaming instead of focusing on her work at school (Montessori, so a good amount of freedom). I am planning to try the Tincture as I’ve heard Lemon Balm is a good herb to help her. Do you agree? And also, for the recipe – do you leave the crockpot lid off? My quart, and smaller, jars are too tall to fit underneath the crockpot lid. Or do you put the jar on its side? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Melissa! Lemon balm is a great calming herb – it tastes DELICIOUS as a glycerite too! My girls love to take this “medicine”. 🙂 I do leave my crockpot lid off. Thanks for the questions!

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