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7 Ayurveda tips for children

Anyone who thinks Ayurveda is only for adults is very wrong. Whether nutrition, massage or sounds: there is a lot with which you as parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle etc. can lovingly support the development of the little ones. - From infancy to teenagers! The pediatrician and Ayurveda doctor Dr. med. Jasmin Blumenberg, board member of the German Society for Ayurveda, the oldest Ayurvedic medical association in Germany (founded in 1983). Dr. med. Jasmin Blumenberg practices at the Minden Children's Clinic and is a lecturer at the German Ayurveda Academy in Regensburg.

Tip 1: adhere to the daily rhythm

Children need regularity and rhythm for healthy development. Ayurveda and our western medicine absolutely agree on this. Because without a regular rhythm, children have problems coping with the flood of stimuli in their lives. Frequent consequences are restlessness, excessive activity and inner restlessness. The children then find no balance. From the point of view of Ayurveda, this is an expression of an excessive accumulation of Vata. A regular daily rhythm with Ayurvedic approaches that create balance and equilibrium can help to bring the doshas back into balance or to maintain the dosha balance in advance.

How does that work in practice?

You can start with teaching the Ayurvedic daily rhythm to children who are already sleeping through the night, i.e. who have a regular day-night rhythm. This is mostly the case between the ages of two and three years. From the Ayurveda point of view, the day should start early. The recommended time to get up is 6 a.m. Since small children are often “early risers” anyway, this will be comparatively easy to implement at a young age. It becomes much more difficult with young people, whose rhythm is increasingly shifting backwards. But the same applies to them: A regular daily rhythm with getting up early improves their Dosha balance and gives them stability for their everyday life. After a full night or a bad night - which is a common occurrence with small children - parents and children should of course sleep longer. Here everyone has to find their own way that is good for them. The same applies to bedtime. Children - like adults - should go to bed at a fixed time if possible. For teenagers, this should not be after 10 p.m. - although it can of course be longer at a party.

Tip 2: start the day with water

Anyone who drinks a glass of water on an empty stomach in the morning has already done a lot for themselves. From an Ayurvedic point of view, drinking the water contributes to internal cleansing and stimulates the emptying of the bowels in the morning. This recommendation can be applied to children from the first year of life.

How to do it

Ideally, you should use boiled water that has cooled to room temperature for 10 minutes for the “morning drink”. You can also keep the boiled water in a thermos and let it cool down to the desired temperature if necessary. For children who are used to drinking fruit juice and who are not ready to drink still water, you can gradually reduce the juice content. In any case, children under the age of 4 should drink as little fruit juice as possible, this is also gentle on their teeth. As a daily thirst quencher, still water is the ideal drink for children. Fruit juice should be reserved for special occasions. As parents and other close adults, you can of course significantly improve the children's acceptance by setting an example of drinking water yourself.

Tip 3: Ayurvedic morning hygiene for children

Similar to adults, we recommend starting the day for children with an Ayurvedic morning routine. The steps in detail:

  • Internal cleaning: Make sure that the child takes time to empty their bowels and bladder.
  • Abhyanga: For babies, the morning full body massage is performed by the parents or another adult. Rub the little ones with matured sesame oil for about 10 to 15 minutes. Older children (from around eight years of age) and teenagers can perform the massage themselves and are happy to use a massage oil tailored to their Dosha type, if necessary diluted with sesame oil (Vata massage oil for dry to normal skin, Pitta massage oil for sensitive ones Skin types, Kapha massage oil for oily skin that is prone to blemishes).

  • stretching: With babies and toddlers, you can gently bring your legs back over your head as part of the morning massage. Then bring your right arm to your left leg - and vice versa. This is not only fun for the little ones, it is simply good for them.
  • Body cleansing: Shower off after the massage. While pure water is usually sufficient for young children, older children and adolescents can use a shower gel or shampoo that is suitable for their Dosha type.
  • Cleaning the tongue and teeth: In addition to the usual brushing of teeth, a tongue cleaner can also be used on young children. While older children can easily use the tongue scraper themselves with a little practice, younger children should still be supported by adults, who then gently run the tongue cleaner over the tongue.

We recommend our silver-plated tongue cleaner, which is particularly small, soft and round.

Tip 4: Ayurvedic cuisine for children

The aim of any diet is to supply our body and thus every single body cell with sufficient nutrients and energy. The prerequisite for this is thorough digestion of the food. According to Ayurveda, this is where the digestive fire Agni comes into play. Only when it burns properly are our cells well supplied and as few waste products (ama) formed as possible. Accordingly, Ayurvedic cuisine not only relies on a healthy, wholesome diet, but also on numerous spices and other ingredients that stimulate the digestive fire. According to Ayurveda, they form the basis for good physical and mental performance as well as the prevention of diseases and everyday complaints. Otherwise there is a risk of bloating, tiredness, blemishes, difficulty concentrating and other complaints. By the way: The principles of Ayurvedic cuisine resulting from this Ayurvedic understanding apply to children as well as adults.

  • Address all six senses with every meal, by doing whenever possible all six flavors (sweet, sour, salty, hot, bitter, tart). They all have different effects on the body and psyche of a person.
  • Always prepare the food as much as possible fresh to. Not only is it healthier, it also tastes better.
  • Let the child keep repeating between meals warm water drink. This strengthens the digestive tract, while cold drinks weaken it.

In addition to these general information on Ayurvedic nutrition, there are some special features that apply specifically to children. From an Ayurvedic point of view, the Kapha Dosha dominates children in the first years of their lives. This also explains it more pronounced Craving for sweets. If you give a child a small amount of sweet (for example a spoonful of applesauce or part of the dessert) before the main meal, this activates the digestive fire from an Ayurvedic point of view and thus the nutrients in the food are better metabolized. If you like, you are welcome to have a sweet dessert afterwards - as is widespread in our western culture. Sweet doesn't always have to be unhealthy. A cereal porridge prepared with ripe, sweet fruit is not only tasty and healthy, it also satisfies the need for something sweet. Do you remember that from your own youth? During puberty, the urge to have something sweet becomes even greater. The youngsters are now in a transition period in which the whole body is working. In this finding phase, the young people need something that gives them stability and stabilizes their Kapha Dosha. This search for stability is also one of the reasons why children can sometimes eat the same dish over a long period of time. Ghee is particularly important in children and adolescents. No matter whether you stir it into the milk or cook with it a lot. Let your creativity take over your mind and body! If you want to enhance the nutrition of children - especially in special development phases - you should try our children's rasayana. This is specially geared towards the needs of children. It is very easy to use: Children from three years of age consume 1 tablet with warm water or warm milk with rock sugar in the morning and in the evening about half an hour before eating (if necessary, use a pestle and rock sugar in a mortar). The “Student Rasayana”, which can be recommended to schoolchildren and students alike, is specially tailored to the needs of learners.

Tips for all meals

breakfast

Ayurveda recommends warm to stimulate the digestive fire "Agni" in children Cereal porridge with some ground ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and a little cardamom. In addition, children can use a Spiced milk drink. To do this, add some ground ginger and ghee to a glass of milk