Ayurveda has a specialized branch of Pediatric medicine known as BalaTantra or Kaumarabhritya. This ancient science offers some simple, natural, wisdom to keep kids healthy and happy in today’s fast paced world. Childhood is a tender but wonderful stage of human life. Because the dhatus are still immature, special care during childhood is essential. The physical development and the mental state during this cycle play a major role in the foundation of the rest of a person’s life.
Ayurveda recommends that both parents undergo panchakarma before they wish to conceive a child. This helps to prevent their current state of health vikruti from being passed on to the baby. Once conception is achieved, the mother practices to be relaxed during pregnancy, reading spiritual books, chanting mantras, eating a doshic diet, following a self-care regime, receiving regular abhyanga, practicing gentle and restorative yoga and meditation.
From conception onward, Ayurveda places great emphasis on post partum care for the mother to balance vata and promote vitality and good health in her, as well as to ensure the healthy development of the baby. After birth, both the newborn infant and the mother are to be cared for throughout the first forty days with the utmost attention. Traditionally, these rituals consist of daily oil massage, bathing, and other herbal therapies. Even today in much of rural India and Nepal there is a wealth of wisdom on birthing and infant’s health care that lays in the hands of midwives and grandmothers, even though many restrictions have been placed upon them.
One of the eight branches of Ayurveda like we expressed early is pediatrics (Bala Tantra). It teaches simple natural wisdom to keep our little ones happy and healthy. Kids live in a Kapha period of life no matter what their constitution is. That means that they will be prone to Kapha diseases like cold, cough and other respiratory disorders and sometimes a disease is a call for attention and love in both kids and adults.
Here are a few suggestions to implement Ayurveda in your little one’s daily life.
- Protecting of emotions
Over-stimulation or sensory overload from TV, computer, video games, and commercials leave lasting impressions on kid’s minds. These go deep into the psyche and disturb their life force (prana), affecting emotional and spiritual growth of our loved ones. Since they can’t control themselves it is our focus to protect their delicate sensory organs. Even newborns when being in the room where an adult movie is running can experience thier senses offended.
- Creative play
Playing with children develops their creativity and imagination, while their souls are satisfied by the love and attention they crave from us. They remember for their life not the plenty of toys and video games bought for them, but a simple game outdoors when you played, bonded and laughed together.
- Consistent routine
Consistency gives a child a sense of security, confidence and reduces stress. Waking up early, going to bed early and eating with nature’s rhythms. While the Sun is on its highest while consuming meals provide good digestive fire which are a strong foundation of good health.
- Freshly cooked, medicinal meals with herbs and spices
Warm nourishing meals like hot cereal, vegetable soups and kitchari (thin warm dish with rice and green or yellow mung beans) speak well to kids. Such food is highly nutritious and easy to digest. Small pinches of digestive spices like cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, and turmeric clear possible toxins and can ward off common colds, flus, and allergies.
- Warm oil massage
A daily Abhyanga (warm oil massage) before bath time calms the nervous system and provides a layer of protection from germs. It boosts the immune system and to their intellect as well producing qualities of happiness and healthiness. These few minutes of loving abhyanga enhances the bonding and affection that kids seek.
May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way on.