Every mother knows her child is unique and special; Ayurveda recognizes that as well. To know Ayurveda is to know life. The principles of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, combined with herbal remedies for kids, can be very beneficial to the emotional, physical and spiritual health of a child.
These principles begin with breastfeeding for the optimal start in a child's life. Breastfeeding combined with a happy state of mind of the mother and a loving and secure environment for the baby balances the baby's doshas right from the very beginning and provides the building blocks necessary.
When an individual is healthy, all three doshas are properly balanced. In disease of the body or mind, the doshas are out of balance and the body is clogged with ama, toxic waste produced by improper digestion. Disease and health in Ayurveda are discussed in terms of the three doshas; vata, pitta and kapha. Every individual will have elements of all three doshas, but are typically predominantly one dosha; this holds true for children as well.
Generally, kapha dosha dominates a child's life from the time they are in utero to their young twenties. Most childhood ills and behavioural problems are related to a disturbance in kapha dosha, yet each child is different and may be dominant in another body-mind type. Once a parent recognizes which type their child is, they will know how to adapt to the child’s individual needs.
The Vata Child
Vata predominant children are prone to anxiety and insomnia, are constantly moving, and learn quickly. They are also cheerful, energetic, outgoing and may eat like a bird at meals, preferring to eat small amounts throughout the day rather than large meals.
The body type of a vata child is generally thin and wiry, and they respond best to a loving touch; it soothes their easily excitable and restless vata nature. One of the most important elements in rearing a vata predominant child is the regularity of routine.
Irregular bed and mealtimes tend to bring out the restless, agitated, moody and hyper elements of vata's nature. A vata child should never be allowed to skip a meal and they should get plenty of rest. A nourishing and warm meal three times a day with healthy and nutrient rich snacks in-between will help in maintaining a balanced vata child.
The Kapha Child
The kapha child is typically more self-sufficient than his or her vata or pitta counterparts. Due to their patience and gentle nature, kapha children have a tendency to be overlooked when in a room with vata and pitta children. It is vital to understand that just because a kapha child does not demand his parents' attention, it does not mean he does not need it just as much as the other two mind-body types.
Kapha kids also tend to learn at a slower pace than vata or pitta children. This is not because they are less intelligent in any way, but their strength is in long-term retention rather than quickly catching on to learned knowledge. Kapha children thrive on exercise and playing team sports, but may not take the initiative unless gently prodded.
Kapha-predominant children have a stronger and more stable sense of self and it is essential their security is not undermined by failure or a fear of failure because they feel or learn differently than other dosha types. This is especially true in a school setting where an educator may not understand a kapha child's unique learning style.
The Pitta Child
Pitta children are highly intellectual and thrive off constant attention and need constant stimulation. Pitta dominant children are highly creative and have the potential to be extremely successful in life if their needs for attention and support are met.
Out of all three dosha types, Pittas by nature have the most "fire", so they may tend to get into spats easily and have a quick temper. They are also highly sensitive to violent or scary television shows or movies. Pitta kids also are not capable of compromising well, so it is important for the parents to not promise something they cannot deliver. Disappointment is not something a Pitta child will be able to get over very easily.
Pitta children have a sensitive nature, so parents should avoid harsh words or punishments and focus on positive reinforcement instead. Kind words, a loving touch and redirection work well with the intellectual pitta child. Calming words and affection soothe the fiery quality of Pitta dosha and prevents it from burning too hot. Outdoor activities can be beneficial to a pitta child, but they should not be overexposed to the hot sun or be confined in overly warm rooms for a long duration.
All Children Need is Love
Regardless of the dosha type, all children need a safe and loving environment where they can bask in the love, support and affection of their parents. Ayurveda believes that if an individual is to be successful, they need plenty of motherly love. Trust in a person's life is established during childhood. A secure child can withstand the difficulties of life and has a sense of fulfilment and being loved no matter what the situation is at hand.
In order to give a child all the love, attention and support they need, parents need to remember to take care of themselves as well. They should do their best to determine their dosha type and live a lifestyle that maintains balance. Parents also need to be well rested and adequately fed, so that they can be patient and slow to anger. Every parent has had those days when their fuse is short because of a lack of sleep or not taking the time to eat properly.
If a parent has a balanced dosha, and is happy and secure, the child will be, too. The best way for a parent to teach the qualities they want to see in their child is to display those qualities themselves.
Herbal Remedies for Kids
Along with proper rest, exercise and diet, there are also many herbal remedies for kids that can balance their dosha and provide the necessary tools for a happy and healthy child.
When a child reaches four to five years of age, they can begin taking Study Power syrup, one of the best herbal remedies for kids available. Study Power Syrup supports the mental activity for all school aged children. It also supports vitality, intelligence and growth and pacifies all dosha types.
Mind Plus is also one of the herbal remedies for kids that can give children of all mind-body types the mental and emotional support they need. It helps to soothe the mind in stressful situations and naturally supports the body's ability to handle panicky feelings. This can be especially helpful in cases of separation anxiety.
No matter which dosha type your child is, they all need the love and support of their parents. A warm oil massage once a day or once every few days can convey the loving touch that builds trust, security and contentment. It also boosts immunity and facilitates better sleep.
- Improve Your Health with Ayurvedic Foods (getbalance.co.nz)