THEY were once a happy bunch full of sunshine and bursts of energy.
But now, months after school has started, you find your children coming back from their 8.30am – 3.30pm grumpy and not their usual selves.
Of course, a lot of of their sudden change is down to the packed schedule, having to start the day early and needing to stay focussed during the classes.
But is there any reason your kid returns home not in the best of moods?
According to the childcare expert, Kirsty Ketley, a mum-of-two herself, it's more than just being exhausted from the long day – other factors play an important role too.
We get it – as busy parents, sometimes it's easier to just chuck a ready-made meal into a microwave and have a pot of jelly for dinner.
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But a lack of crucial vitamins, such as A, B, C and D, affects the body, making children knackered, easily irritable – and grumpy.
''So making sure they are having a good balanced diet with plenty of foods rich in these vitamins is a good idea – think cereals, wholegrains, milk, yoghurt, vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, peas and brussel sprouts!
''Then foods like peppers, oranges and other citrus fruits and then eggs and oily fish.
''If you have a picky eater, a good multivitamin will help, but make sure it has the recommended dosage for kids in it, as often they only have part of it,'' Kirsty advised.
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By now, we all know the importance of having a good night's rest – but your children may need some encouraging to go to bed earlier too.
However, if you find they're too full of energy, it's worthwhile incorporating different activities throughout the day, such as a family walk or a bike ride.
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Where possible, Kirsty also recommended walking or cycling to school.
''This will help with sleep and we all know that exercise gets the happy endorphins going.''
School can be a harsh place – according to a UK report, a shocking one in four children said they were bullied a lot or always, and of course, this will have a great impact on your child and their emotions.
Although for the most part children will be reluctant to talk about this with their parents, there are signs to look out for, Kirsty noted.
These include grumpiness, anxiety, change in their eating habits, possessions going missing or getting damaged, having trouble with sleep, as well as unexplained cuts and bruises.
''If you suspect that they are being bullied you should try and get them to open up, letting them know that you can help and that you are there for them.''
Sometimes, the parenting whizz said, the explanation is more simple – and it's to do with the time of the year they were born.
''There is research to suggest that teenagers born in the spring or summer are more likely to suffer from the 'winter blues' than those born in autumn or winter.
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''The reason is that it might be something to do with the way exposure to natural light in the very early days of life programmes the nervous system,'' Kirsty noted.
''Exposure to longer hours of daylight appears to make summer-born children more prone to SADS.''
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