Your child is unique. Your child is incredibly special in ways no one else but you will ever know. There is, indeed, not one single person in the world like your child! That being said, if you have an interest in learning how to better understand your child, and help nurture their well-being, you may wish to look at your child’s mind-body type.
“According to Ayurveda, an ancient healing philosophy, the five elements in nature, earth, water, fire, air and space, culminate in three primary mind-body types or ‘doshas’ according to Dr Martin Combrinck (PhD). “These types express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.”
A dosha is sometimes referred to as your unique constitution. Understanding the doshas can help you bring harmony to your own life and your child’s life,
Correcting Your Child’s Imbalance
“The objective of Ayurveda is to restore balance in an individual. Imbalance can come from the seasons, the environment around you, life circumstances, the food and drink you consume, the social media you absorb, and the energy of the people you are around” according to Dr Combrinck.
Your child may experience imbalance during the following:
- A period of transition such as the school year starting, a good friend moving away, or a sports season coming to a close.
- Eating too much sugar for breakfast.
- Playing violent video games.
- Not able to sit still for a short period of time.
- Feeling worried about a stressful family situation.
Your Child’s Mind-Body Type
Your child’s primary mind-body type will become obvious when you or your child experience an imbalance. For example: Does your child get irritable after playing in the sun on a warm day? That could be their fiery pitta nature coming forward. They will likely feel better after a few bites of cool watermelon or a run through the sprinklers!
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 unique mind-body types can provide a useful insight into keeping children healthy, happy and inspired.
Take a look at each of the 3 Body-Mind types, Vata, Pitta and Kapha and see which ones resonate most with your child or children.
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.
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 energized 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.
Different Learning Styles
By knowing your child’s Mind-Body profile, you can better understand what style of learning will give them the greatest chance of excelling in school.
Vata kids learn best aurally (through sound). Vata kids can be restless and easily over-stimulated, making it difficult for them to settle down, focus, and learn.
Pitta kids learn best visually. They are not likely to have learning difficulties (unless other doshas are involved). They are fiery, focused, driven, and competitive, and tend to excel in our fast and furious society.
Kapha kids learn best kinesthetically (through touch/movement). These kids are easy going, slow moving, and methodical, which carries over to their learning style. They often cannot cope with the rapid, auditory, lecture-based pace of the classroom.
“Considering your child’s Mind-Body type can be one way to look at your child holistically. This can help you and your child prepare activities, foods, and strategies for when life feels out of balance. Understanding the subtleties of your child’s Ayurvedic Mind-Body type can help pave the way to a well-balanced childhood. We all want to know our children better, and decoding his or her body type is a great place to start!”, according to Dr Combrinck
Dr Combrinck delivers talks and seminars to both parents and teachers on how to strengthen your child’s happiness, health, success, and satisfaction by understanding their Mind-Body type. For more information on these talks, contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org