Ayurveda is all about understanding yourself, on the mind, body and soul levels. It is about respecting who you are and being true to yourself. The concept of having an individual blueprint and respecting that is the first step to understand how to keep yourself balanced on these levels. The 3 subtle energies known as doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) that our bodies and mind have are based on the 5 elements in nature (ether, air, fire, water and earth).
All of us are born with a blueprint of a combination of one, two or rarely all three doshas. Even though two people might both be a vata/pitta constitution, they might exhibit vata differently (one more on the mind and the other body) but also in different amounts. They are energies and change over time, depending on what is happening in our life.
As parents, I think we are thrown off when our child is different from us. When I see my son Ruvir being himself, happy or sad, I relate to his behavior because I know as a child in many ways I was the same. Even his food preferences are very similar to mine. When he was an infant I had a feeling he was a Pitta-Kapha and now as a toddler I am sensing that I may be spot on. My younger son, Ruhan is totally the opposite of me, he is so calm and will eat just about anything I make for him. He also very thin and quiet, but also strong. I have a feeling he is a vata or vata-pitta, time will tell!
Respect All the Doshas
Understanding your child’s doshic type will help to know how their minds and bodies are functioning. The concept of conditioning is completely opposite to Ayurveda, you have to meet the child where they are and work with them. This is where respecting each person, or rather child, too, comes in place. There is NOT one dosha that is more superior to another, better or easier to raise. Obviously, you might be able to relate more if your child is the same type as you, maybe.
In some way and form we are conditioned to believe that an easy child that behaves well, listens and responds is the ultimate golden child. But why? My 9 month old, Ruhan in many ways is an easy child. He started sleeping through the night at 1.5 months, loved solids from the get go, and even with teething is pretty mellow. He is so laid back and calm. As much as I adore him, I also adore my almost 3 year old’s rambunctious, aggressive, feisty personality. Ruvir keeps the home lively and there is always so much ongoing entertainment with him.
The Vata Child
VATA is ether and air. The Vata body type is slender, tall, lean and typically has a fast metabolism. Vata children are the type that might get up frequently in the night and easily prone to anxiety. The air element is what can cause ADD, some may not even really have it though it may appear to seem like that. It might be helpful to check out this blog post I wrote a whole back on ADHD. They are creative thinkers and doers, very out of the box types. It’s important to help channel their creative juices effectively and regularly.
Their skin may tend to be on the drier side and they may have a hard time sitting still for too long. Routine is what helps them, in fact structure is absolutely necessary for them. Not every hour of the day, but a regular eating, bathing, napping and bedtime is a solid way to help keep their mind balanced.
Their bodies are thin, and regardless of how many calorie dense foods you give they may just stay in the lower percentile for weight. They do need root vegetables, and in some cases may need to eat meat to help keep them grounded. Though meat is not always the answer, root vegetables, lentils, ghee should be staples in their meals. Don’t be surprised if they get spacey or jump from topic to another or even cut you off. It’s not them, it’s their vata.
The Pitta Child
PITTA is fire and water. The pitta body type is muscular, and medium build. These children are the type to be loud, competitive, aggressive, and have a hard time dealing with the answer “no”. They want it their way and they will fight until the end. They are easily “fired up” so to speak, for the positive with excitement and negative with anger. The fire element in them needs lots of engagement, may it be a person or toy. Challenges suit them, in fact they do well with them. Something like solving a puzzle or problem like fixing a broken toy is good for them. They are good learners and if engaged they will participate and tend to show off their wins.
They may be prone to inflammatory conditions like red, peeling type eczema, skin rashes, skin burns or just easily overheated. The pitta child has a tendency to overheat during sleep and may have head sweats. A schedule and routine is really great for all children, but sometimes a pitta child may be defiant. To respect what they are communicating and meeting them half way every so often is okay. If they get angry before mealtime or bedtime, it will derail them for the next few hours.
Their bodies are muscular and well proportioned. Emphasizing cooling foods in their diet is important. At times they might not recognize they are hungry and be preoccupied with playing. At some point, if there is an outburst of anger and a tantrum, it is not because they are acting out, its because they are hungry and their tummy is burning for some food!
The Kapha Child
KAPHA is earth and water. The kapha body type is heavy and dense. Not necessarily with excess weight, they may just have a larger built. These children are the type to be grounded, stable and also love their routine a little too much. This child is someone who does not like change. If a parent screams or yells at them, they might go into their room and not speak. They tend be a little bit more on the sensitive side, this is the water element. The earth and water elements are very dense and stable, think of mud.
Sudden changes to their way of life, say adjusting to a new school will be really tough. Mentally they have a hard time with change, so much that they will try to hold on to their past way of doing things. They tend to be stubborn and also clingy, they have a hard time letting go. This child will remember what happened a month ago if they emotionally felt hurt and will not be able to move on so quickly.
Physically they may be on the heavier side and have some extra fat, not always. If you see your kapha child not moving their bodies, encourage them to engage in some sort of physical activity, they need it. It’s hard to get kapha children to move or be engaged but if it really interests them then they will. In fact, once they do get going they really keep going because they have a high stamina. Try to change things up a bit for kapha to encourage flexibility and adaptability. Don’t stray too far from disrupting a routine, but there is room within it to change things up a little bit.
Usually kapha adults are encouraged to eat lighter foods, but children need dense foods for their growth, so I would not recommend that. Using more flavors and spices in their usual meals instead will be great, this way they also can experience some newness and change.