Back to School:
It’s time to go back-to-school shopping and you have all three children in the car. You still have “stuff” to get and the kids seem to be getting antsy. You note that your daughter, red-haired Susie, keeps saying, "I'm hot!" and "I'm hungry. When do we eat?" She is trying to get the others to play a guessing game, which she usually wins.
Thin, wiry Andy is talking a mile a minute, wound- up from the upcoming first day of middle school and anxious to get to the store. Then there is Justin, who is prone to gaining weight, congenially listens to his brother and sister and then drifts off to sleep.
As every mother knows, each child is distinctly unique, just as one child may have dark curly hair the other can have blond and straight locks. And, as any parent recognizes, emotional and physical needs can also vary enormously from child to child.
The health and creativity of your child is based upon your child’s mind-body type and the emotional and physical nourishment he or she receives. Once you understand your child's ayurvedic basic make-up -- you will know how to help.
Know What Your Child Needs:
Ayurveda recognized three main ayurvedic constitutions or mind-body categories. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Of the three children, Susie is a typical Pitta type, with her auburn hair and freckled skin. She has a fiery personality and gets frustrated and angry easily. However, she can also be very loving and caring.
Susie is easily disappointed and distraught, so it is best as a parent to present her calmly with things. A Pitta child cannot handle anything hot and spicy and tends towards digestive problems such as acid reflux and heartburn. She should eat cooling foods; coconut milk, yogurt and sweet fruits such as mangoes and papaya. She will have problems digesting raw vegetables and needs to have them cooked. Susie gets irritated if she misses a meal and she would do well to always carry a snack. Susie enjoys being competitive and loves to compete in basketball, soccer and lacrosse….however; she gets overheated easily and needs to cut back on the challenging physical sports that are competitive. She also overheats in the sun and will develop prickly heat if too much time is spent sunbathing, so her time in the sun needs to be minimized.
The second child, Andy is a typical Vata-type – he is very quick to learn, very creative, can often solve problems quickly. Andy is constantly moving and seems to get anxious easily; he often wants to know what is going to happen next. Andy does not sleep well and is often heard singing or talking in bed-- way into the wee hours of the morning. He complains of not being able to sleep and wants a later bedtime.
A Vata-based child such as Andy thrives on a daily oil massage and abundant hugs, as the sense of touch soothes the over stimulated nervous system of the Vata type. It is especially important for Andy and all Vata children to have a regular routine; they will thrive on knowing what time they get up, and they benefit enormously from a night-time routine that includes, warm milk, a calming touch with oils and soft music to sleep by. The Vata aggravating foods that are not good for Andy are raw vegetables, crackers, popcorn, and dry cereals. Any cold drinks or foods will aggravate a Vata child.
As for Justin, he is the child that made you think that you had “gotten it right” as a parent. He is your easy child and that’s because as a Kapha type he is in fact easier going. As a typical Kapha, Justin loves to just “hang out”. He has to be prodded and often times pushed to do competitive sports. Once in sports though, he normally excels as he has a lot of stamina. Although not competitive by nature Kapha’s need to be pushed into exercise as they would rather “just hang out”.
A Kapha based child learns slowly and needs lots of time in school, however if given the time and patience will excel as they have excellent long term memories. Justin will need to avoid heavy, dense foods in order to feel healthy and alert. Foods such as ice cream, desserts, heavily laden cheese dishes and processed foods will cause the Kapha child to become dull and lethargic. Justin will feel better when he eats light and warm foods such as vegetables and nutritious soups.
Here is a great breakfast Buddha bowl, packed with protein to give your child a good start to the morning.
Chia Breakfast Recipe
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or favorite milk)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- liquid stevia or maple syrup to taste
- Place almond milk and chia seeds into a canning jar and cover with the lid. Shake until well combined. Add a teaspoon of maple syrup or sweeten to taste with stevia or desired sweetener. Place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. Serve with your child's favorite fruit and granola!
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 2 mins.