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Calm, Connected and Coordinated Children

We now live in a world where kids have never been more anxious, disconnected and uncoordinated.

The purpose of this blog is to let parents know WHY this is occurring, while also providing HOPE and immediate action steps they can implement to get these kids unlocked to express more life!

In other words, it’s the lack of these “3 C’s” that is negatively impacting these kids and the entire family’s quality of life.

Big picture, it’s all about calming, connecting and coordinating the brain and central nervous system. After all, the brain is the boss; the brain runs the show. Once we get the brain and nervous system calm, connected and coordinated, kids get well!

But first, let me explain what each “C” does and doesn’t look like.

CALM

Calm kiddos sleep, listen and handle crowds well while also playing well with others.

On the other hand, kiddos that are not calm are poor sleepers, go from “0 – 90″ over every little thing, gets wound up and anxious easily and doesn’t handle loud and busy environments very well.

CONNECTED

These kiddos have great eye contact and perception, listen and engage well, and can focus and stay organized.

Disconnected kiddos lack eye contact and sensory perception, do not listen and engage well and struggle with focus and organization.

COORDINATED

Coordinated children hit their motor milestones, have smooth and easy motor movements, and are flexible and agile.

Naturally, uncoordinated kiddos missed motor milestones, have poor posture and flexibility, and are often told they have “two left feet.”

So, what causes some children to go one way while others go the other? Two things, (1) the health and balance of their nervous system, and (2) their environment.

The Nervous System

“The function of the nervous system is to PERCEIVE the environment and COORDINATE the BEHAVIOR of all other cell.” – Bruce Lipton, PhD. Biologist.

Remember, the brain is the boss, constantly controlling all aspects of a child’s life. And the three big aspects of this quote are perception, coordinate and behavior.

Perception – The sensory aspect of the nervous system
Coordination – The “organizing” feature of the brain and nervous system
Behavior – The specific role of each cell or system; including emotions and behavior

Because when you think about it, all kids struggling with the “3 C’s” are struggling with perceiving their environment and acting appropriately. And for that specific reason, once we get that system calm, connected and coordinated, kids get better!

But wait, there is more! There are also two parts to the child’s nervous system: parasympathetic and sympathetic.

The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as “rest and digest.” And this is where children should spend a majority of their childhood. It is crucial for appropriate growth and development and is exactly why children sleep so much; especially as babies! There is so much learning, growth and development occurring those first few years of life that a baby’s body needs rest for their nervous system and their body to grow and develop appropriately.

The other side is the sympathetic nervous system; which is meant for survival and is also known as the “fight or flight” response. It is great in the short-term, but long-term it can have a negative impact on growth and development; as well as overall health.

Here is an example of a sympathetic response. You are out camping and a bear comes out from behind the trees. There are two options, fight the bear or run away (flight). And it’s great that the body responds in this way during life or death situations, but the problem is when this system never shuts off!

When kids are stressed out every day of their life they become “wired” or learn to be stressed out. And this is the exact issue with a child that is not calm; they are stuck in sympathetic mode every day!

Being stuck in sympathetic mode also leads to disconnected and uncoordinated kids!

“You cannot be in growth (parasympathetic) and protection (fight or flight) at the same time.” – Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Because the brain and nervous system is learning, growing and developing so much throughout childhood, if the nervous system is always in fight or flight and not allowed to be in the more important parasympathetic mode, the child learns, grows and develops in a sympathetic state. In other words, they get “stuck” in this mode of operation.

Hence the disconnection and eventually, bad coordination! As Dr. Lipton states, children who are stuck in protection (fight or flight) will not grow and develop appropriately. Being stuck in a stressful state leads to the poor connection and poor coordination later in childhood.

To summarize, kiddos start by not being calm and overtime this leads to disconnected and uncoordinated kids. It’s all rooted in their nervous system! And because the “3 C’s” are rooted in the nervous system, children under chiropractic care experience tremendous results.

Why? Movement charges the brain’s battery. This is exactly why Steve Jobs had people up and moving during meetings, and it’s the same reason people have so much more mental clarity following a workout. Movement feeds the brain, taking the nervous system out of “fight or flight,” and moving it into parasympathetic mode!

From a scientific standpoint, this “movement” sensed by the brain is called “proprioceptive” input. Think of proprioceptive input as the positive brain food that is calming, connecting and coordinating the brain. Thus, more proprioceptive input received by the brain results in a calm, connected and coordinated brain!

Well, 60% of proprioceptive input is based on movement of the spine. Over half the neurons in the spinal cord are meant for this function. In other words, when the spine is in correct alignment and can move appropriately, a massive amount of proprioceptive input is reaching the brain!

On the other hand, misalignments throughout the spine prevent full movement. Thus decreasing proprioceptive input and therefore stimulating a stressful, “fight or flight” response within the brain and nervous system. And when these misalignments are not corrected and the stress response is constantly present, these kiddos become “wired” to be stressed out. Hence the poor sleep, anxiety, etc. Furthermore, when this stress is present long enough and consistent enough, it eventually leads to disconnected and uncoordinated kiddos.

Thus, the purpose of the chiropractic adjustment is to restore correct movement throughout the spine, increasing proprioceptive input into the brain and taking the nervous system out of “fight or flight.” Therefore, when these kids are under chiropractic care for a consistent and long enough period of time, we essentially “re-wire” them to be in a parasympathetic state. And once we get their nervous system calmed down, it becomes connected and coordinated!

Environment

Regarding the child’s environment, if it’s constantly noisy, stressful, toxic and wound up, then so is the nervous system. Further augmenting the fight or flight response!

So how do we get a more CALM, CONNECTED and COORDINATED child?

7 Action Steps

1) Get them under care with a trained pediatric chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments have been proven to take a child out the sympathetic response; turning on the parasympathetic nervous system! There is nothing that can have a bigger impact on balancing this system.

2) Become obsessed with sleep schedules – it recharges their battery.

3) Make sure they are physically active every day – movement is life and movement calms the nervous system. Great examples include: Swimming, Martial arts, CrossFit kids and Yoga.

4) Get the garbage out of their diet and environment. Eat and live clean!  Toxins are “fire starters” and “brain dis-connectors” for these kiddos. Avoid sugar, dairy and food dyes and utilize clean household products.

5) Keep TV and especially iPads, games, etc. at an absolute minimum – they bombard kids with sensory input and is another reason they struggle with sleep at night. If you have to, use these as a “treat” vs a “norm.”

6) Use essential oils but please consult with someone who knows a lot about these. General advice, find ones that are appealing to them. Lavender is very common for “calming” purposes.

7) Do all of this yourself! Parents, you have a nervous system too. If you’re stressed out and struggling with the “3 C’s”, your kids pick up on that! But, if your nervous system is calm, connected and coordinated then your child is going to notice you’re less stressed. Which will exponentially help your child get calm, connected and coordinated sooner because you are no longer viewed as a stress to them!

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