Your child is grumpy, tired, irritable, and overall in a bad mood. School seems to be going well. Everything is fine at home. Friendships seem to be business as usual. So, what’s wrong? Where did this sudden shift come from?
There are a lot of things that can contribute to mood changes in children, and poor diet is one of them.
Vitamins and minerals aren’t only important for supporting physical health -- they’re equally as important for their brain health and emotional wellness, too.
Common Causes for Mood Changes in Children
Mood changes in children can be worrying, but many of them can easily be remedied. Consider your child’s circumstances and ask them questions. You may need to make a few adjustments to keep your child happy and comfortable.
Is everything alright with your child’s friends? How are they getting along at school? Is it possible your child is being bullied or feels isolated?
Children don’t often talk to their parents about their social issues. If your child’s self esteem is taking a hit, it’s time to take a closer look. Check in with your child’s teachers and monitor your child’s use of social media. If they’re being bullied, you need to know.
Are things changing at home? Is school getting harder? Is your child going through a major life change, like a school transfer, the death of a pet or a loved one, or a relocation to a new home?
The stress hormone cortisol can affect children's well-being just as significantly as it can affect adults. Often, children have fewer ways to control their stress. They don’t have much of a say in their situation because the grown ups make the choices. Talk to your child. See if something is bothering them, and ask what you can do to provide them some relief.
Insomnia or Lack of Sleep
If your child is having trouble sleeping or staying up late to play games or use their phone, this deprivation in their energy levels will certainly manifest in their mood. Make sure your child isn’t staying up past bedtime. Remove all distractions from their bedroom.
If your child still can’t get enough sleep, a trip to the doctor may be in order.
It’s not just a stereotype. Children going through puberty are a little more volatile than normal. Your child may be aggressive, upset, or anxious when they start producing more hormones.
It’s a massive change to their bodies, and even though it’s completely normal, it still isn’t a breeze to deal with. Most of the angst that comes with puberty has to be waited out.
When left to their own devices, children will voluntarily subsist on chicken nuggets, ice cream , french fries, and macaroni and cheese. No child will order the swordfish with grilled asparagus and a tall glass of water. Children have a tendency to favor “beige” foods, and the ones that aren’t beige get their color from artificial dyes.
Growing bodies need diverse nutrients from the right food groups. Brain fog, lethargy, irritability, and difficulty concentrating can all be side effects of a poor diet, and can thankfully be helped with a little healthy eating.
Is Poor Nutrition Common in America?
Poor nutrition is a common problem in America. Poor nutrition can lead to a whole host of conditions including obesity and diabetes thanks to the ever-high blood sugar levels caused by added sugars in everyday foods. Eating a lot does not mean you’re eating well. The volume of food doesn’t matter if that food isn’t nutritious. A whole bag of potato chips and a gallon of soda is a few pounds of carbohydrates and liquid, but none of it will do the body the good that healthy carbs like whole grains can.
Which Vitamins and Nutrients Are Responsible for Our Mood?
Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, almost all B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, and iron play a role in regulating the way our brains and bodies work together.
If your child isn’t getting enough of these key vitamins, it will be easy to spot in their mood swings. These key vitamins are needed for hormone production and regulation, especially when it comes to supporting neurotransmitters responsible for mood like serotonin and dopamine. When production of key hormones is halted, the brain cannot stabilize its mood. This often causes feelings of dysphoria, depression, or anxiety.
What Foods Promote a Better Mood?
Fruits high in antioxidants, veggies like leafy greens, low fat dairy with probiotics, and lean proteins can provide a lot of the key vitamins your child needs. However, serving these nutrient-rich foods to your kids and getting them to eat it are two different stories.
Dietary restrictions or preferences, like a strictly vegan household, may limit the availability of these key vitamins in your child’s diet.
Make healthier swaps when you can. Prohibiting snacking or limiting snacking to fruits and vegetables usually works to encourage children to eat healthier meals. They won’t be full of cookies or chips when dinner time rolls around, making them more likely to clean their plate of healthy foods to satiate their hunger.
Supplementing Your Child’s Diet
A lacking diet can be supported by a daily children’s multivitamin like Hiya. Our multivitamin has 15 carefully curated essential vitamins and minerals to support not only a happy mood, but healthy immunity, development, and growth, too. We’re also proud to sweeten our multi with all natural monk fruit for a taste kids love without all the sugary junk you’ll find in our gummy competitors.
Adding a multivitamin to your child’s routine is an ideal way to make sure they’re getting all of the essential nutrients they need to grow up happy and healthy. Especially if they’re a picky eater who may not be getting everything they need from their food, a multivitamin will help to fill in the gaps.
Even so, you should continue to introduce healthy and whole foods to your child, but note you may need to make some compromise. Your child’s young palette may not yet appreciate folate-rich brussel sprouts or iron-packed turnips.
Until they do, there’s always multivitamins!