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Q: Hi there, my son is three years and seven months old and was just diagnosed with ADD. His speech is also delayed. I am a Brazilian mother, but live in Ireland with my husband. I am travelling to Brazil next month and I’m feeling really anxious about the flight. My husband is not coming with us and I am 13 weeks pregnant.
My issue is: it’s really hard to control him sometimes. He won’t listen to me and sometimes he wants to slap me. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on homeopathy or any natural medicine that could help my son in case he acts up on the flight. We recently came back from holidays, a three hour flight, and my husband and I really struggled to manage our son’s tantrums. Any help is much appreciated, thank you.
A: We understand that this must be a very stressful time for you right now. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is a type of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Having a child with ADHD can be exhausting in itself, never mind when you are pregnant. Know that there is a lot of support out there for you and that, despite your fears of upsetting other travelers, people will empathize with your situation.
The most important thing that you need to do is plan ahead. Take time to write down all of the things that you think might happen and figure out solutions in advance. This way you will not be taken by surprise and as you would have practiced what to do in your head, things will feel easier while onboard. Is there a certain toy that will help your child feel calm during a tantrum? Can you bring along a game that you can both play on the flight? What would you do at home to help?
Once you have prepared yourself for potential meltdowns, it is now time to prepare your son. While he is still very young it is important that you point out the rules of flying, for example when we need to sit still and when we need to use indoor voices. You may want to introduce a reward chart for good behavior at various intervals throughout your flight.
When you board the plane you can have a quiet word with the flight attendants and, if you feel comfortable, the people sitting nearby to let them know that your son has ADHD and may not be able to sit still for the whole flight.
In terms of homeopathic remedies, while taking a holistic view on treatment for ADHD is welcomed, it is important to speak to your doctor before administering any medicines or remedies to your son. Ritalin is the main drug that is used for ADHD in both children and adults and there is no homeopathic equivalent. Synaptol is one homeopathic remedy that is commonly used to treat ADHD (in children over two years). This liquid remedy is made of herbs, sweet violet, and skullcap and has helped some people focus and have fewer periods of inattentive periods. If you do decide to visit a homeopath, they will tailor-make a remedy that will target your child’s specific needs.
Being mindful of your son’s diet ahead of your trip will certainly help you on your journey. Research suggests that processed, sugary foods and fizzy drinks can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.
In addition to preparing your son for your trip, it is important that you are feeling as well as you can before traveling. If possible, ask your husband, childcare support or friends to take care of your son for a few hours ahead of your trip so that you can rest and get some sleep. Being pregnant is very tiring and a lack of sleep can increase our stress levels. By preparing healthy snacks for the plane and feeling energetic before the flight you will feel more confident if your son does begin to play up during your flight.
You mentioned that your son has only just been diagnosed with ADHD and we are guessing that you are feeling overwhelmed right now. ADHD Ireland offers support and resources for children and families affected by ADHD. It may be beneficial to reach out to them for additional help for you and your family.
Best wishes for your trip home, we hope that you all have a wonderful time.