The dosha and your kids
A child can take on a number of different behaviours throughout their development; some are excellent sleepers, others need a bit more care at bed time, some are good eaters and others can be picky, some love team sports at school while others will do everything they can to avoid them. Just as with adults, the Ayurvedic doshas can provide a useful insight into keeping children healthy, happy and inspired.
Most children will have one or two doshas which tend to be more dominant and determine your child’s characteristics. Take a look at each of the doshas below and see which ones resonate most.
The vata child
The vata child is dominant in the air and ether elements, which manifest in a light, slender body frame. These children tend to feel the cold more than usual, and might have cold hands and feet.
They are quick - be it thought, speech or physical movement- with a restless, busy nature. They are creative and may often get absorbed in their own world.
At school, they buzz around the classroom, chatting and finding it hard to sit still and be quiet. Long periods of focus can be challenging for the vata child as they can have active minds and are distracted by what is going on around them.
Vata kids tend to daydream, and their minds are full of ideas. Their busy mind could mean they are prone to worry and anxiety. This means they might be chatty in a small group but speaking in front of the whole class might make them nervous.
A vata child’s appetite can be sporadic, they might be starving one minute and not hungry at all the next.
As with vata adults, vata children are often light sleepers and may wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep.
Tips for caring for a vata child:
- Try and stick to a good routine of mealtimes and bed time
- Warm, nourishing meals will help keep them grounded
- Provide warming, soothing teas with herbs like ginger and chamomile
- Provide lots of gentle reassurance to keep them cheerful
- Encourage the habit of checking their home work for silly mistakes
- Check they have a daily movement in case of constipation
- Keep them warm and cosy in the winter months
- Regular warm oil massage is soothing and calming and helps dry skin too
The pitta child
The pitta child is dominant in the fire and water elements, which manifests as a regular body frame. As this body-type carries a lot of heat by nature, it’s easy for these children to get ‘hot and bothered’ and red in the face on a hot summer’s day.
Their skin is likely to be sensitive to the sun, with freckles and prone to rashes.
Looking at character, these children tend to a more competitive nature, and enjoy leadership positions from a young age. They tend to be athletic, loving sports but they may not make the best losers.
They are very organised and confident at both home and school, with sharp, intelligent minds. They also enjoy being the centre of attention.
Pitta children like to get things right, and may tend to perfectionism and be quite self-critical at times. They tend to do very well at what they choose to do, but parents need to check they don’t make too many demands on themselves.
Physically, they have strong appetites and need regular, square meals or they are prone to irritation. Try to get their meals on the table in good time or there may be trouble!
They tend to sleep well, if for shorter periods, and are ready to go in the morning. Generally, pitta children are more robust than the more sensitive vata type. However, due to their ‘hot’ nature, they may be prone to sudden outburst of anger or bad sportsmanship.
Tips for caring for a pitta child:
- Be a good role model and teach how to lose gracefully
- Encourage them to listen to others and understand that they can’t always get their own way
- Make sure their food needs are met with regular mealtimes
- Provide cooling teas with herbs like mint and rose
- Keep them cool, calm and well-hydrated in summer
- Show them that things can’t be perfect all the time: we all learn from mistakes
The kapha child
The kapha child is more dominant in the water and earth elements, manifesting in a more well-built and solid body-frame than vata or pitta types. Compared to vata’s dynamic nature, these children are slower and steadier. They move more slowly and methodically, with no wasted effort. They are also slower to learn by nature, but once they have understood a concept they have it for life.
The fast, busy pace of most classrooms may not serve these children as well as the other types, but once older they are able to do well in any field of activity. These children have a calm and peaceful manner about them, and they are well-liked and are very loving. They tend to be good, heavy sleepers- a blessing for parents when they are small babies! As they get older, they may take a while to get going in the morning. Physically, kapha children are more prone to mucus conditions and coughs and colds. There may also be a tendency to weight gain due to a slower metabolism, especially with foods that are too heavy and with insufficient physical activity. It’s important to keep a kapha child energised and motivated.
Tips for caring for a kapha child:
- Encourage stimulating forms of exercise that are both fun and involve teams
- Minimise cold, heavy, sweet foods
- Provide warming teas with herbs like ginger and cinnamon
- Keep them warm in the winter months
- Provide lots of physical and mental stimulation