I recently held a seminar called The Poop Project. Great name huh? In short, I got together with a few moms in my neighborhood and broke down a child’s digestive system in both western and eastern medicine. I explained how to prevent loss of appetite, constipation and diarrhea through structure, diet and exercise. After which I coached the moms how to use the back of a spoon to treat their own children at home.
The following is a brief summary of some of the main points of the discussion.
One of the biggest causes of constipation and diarrhea is a lack of structure in the child’s life. Making sure that the little ones get up, eat, play, go to school and go to bed at roughly the same time gets their body into a rhythm. They will go into hungry mood, digestion mood and sleep mood automatically. Starting a routine can be a little stressful but after a month or so it can be a huge stress reliever for mom and dad because not only does it improve digestion but it also helps with sleep, fits and overall health.
Another huge factor is food. Kids’ bodies are affected heavily by diet, temperature and style of their food. Lots of premade meals and cold drinks back up the system with chemicals and lower the bodies’ temperature making it harder to digest food and even heal itself. Lots of fruits are great for vitamins but are very cooling by nature. Refrain from giving you kids drinks and snacks that are below room temperature. The body doesn’t need to warm up liquids when they are at room temperature making them easier to digest and disperse quickly to the body. This is especially important for heat stroke in the hot summer.
Stress is also a big factor in digestion. Breast feeding mothers can transfer their stress hormones through the breast milk into the baby’s tummy. Young adults getting ready for exams often complain of digestive problems and young children often get stomach aches on their first day of school. Keep you families stress level down by talking, eating, playing and exercising together!
Last by not least: exercise. My three year old is often quoting the new movie, Frozen: “The sky is awake so I’m awake. So I have to play!” Kids need to run and play for at least one to two hours every day. If it’s a rainy day than go to the store or invite friends over. Jump on the beds or roll around the room in sheets. Get them laughing and moving until they are sweaty and tired. I guarantee that this is the best way to make them eat, sleep and poop better.
If your child is still constipated and/or has diarrhea after trying all of the above I recommend having them checked by the local doctor because food allergies, colds and other issues can also be at fault. Many cases can be solved with child acupuncture as well.
Heather Maya Suzuki