Do You Know Who Your Children Are?
Have you ever wondered how your children can be so different from one another? We are almost done raising our six kids and we consistently marvel at how each of them is so unique and different. It seems that each child requires their own unique owner’s manual to know how to best raise them.
The Ayurvedic answer to your child’s owners manual is know their body type. Our children’s body type quiz will give you insight into their unique traits on all fronts: physically, athletically, mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally. I am such a fan of our body type quiz that I use it with every one of my patients because you literally get a body type result for yourself, partner, or child in each of the trait categories I mentioned. Then you add up the results from each category and you get their overall mind-body-emotional-behavioral type.
So for example, say your child has an overall body type of pitta-kapha (fire-earth), which would make them, let’ s say, calm, strong, competitive, and driven. But when you look at the Emotional Profile result, that same child is extremely vata (air), which can explain why they do not sleep well at night or can tend toward some social anxiety.
So, looking at each profile can give a much deeper insight into the strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes of each of your children or even yourselves, mom and dad.
I could not imagine being a parent of six kids and not having these tools. Last winter, all our six kids went cold-free. It really isn’t difficult. As parents, we just need to know what to do and when. With a little knowledge, it is easy to keep them healthy. It is when they get sick and pass it to each other that things get messy. A little focus on prevention delivered us six pounds of cure. You will be surprised just how simple it is!
Okay lets get started! The first step is to find out who your kids are is to take our Body Type Quiz for each of your children.
Understanding Your Child’s Body Type
If you take your car to a mechanic, the first question you’re asked is: “What is the make, model, and year of your car?”
In the same way we should ask:
- What is the model of this child?
- Is he or she a Ford, a Chevy, or a high-maintenance Porsche?
Some kids get allergies and some don’t. Some tend to gain weight and others struggle to keep weight on. Some are interested in sports or music, while others have no interest but will excel in another area. I have always felt that it was our job as parents to help kids find that one thing that they loved, enjoyed, and were good at! Understanding the subtleties of your child’s body type can help you better support them to be who they are and can pave the way to a well-balanced childhood.
Elle: The Spontaneous Winter Vata Child
A few years back, Elle, an adorable eight-year-old, came into my office with her mom. Her mom was a little worried about her because she would get tummy aches and headaches. She was also not doing great in school. When I examined her tongue and took her pulse, I noticed that her nails were bitten to the core, so I asked her if she liked school. She of course said, “Yes,” but when I dug deeper, it was clear that while she had lots of friends, her social radar was on overdrive. When she was working at her desk, she was also aware of what the person next to her was doing, who her best friend across the room was joking with, where the teacher was, and also spending a ton of energy worrying if anyone would discover her secret. Her secret was that she was that she didn’t think she was smart, and she did whatever she could to hide it.
Elle was a classic vata type. She was on the thinner side, and she definitely did not like the cold—in fact, she said she wouldn’t go skiing because it was too cold. Her mom told me she was fantastically creative and loved to draw, and that she worried a lot. I told Elle that her secret wasn’t actually about how smart she was. I told her she was plenty smart, but no one can do their work while having their radar or attention on so many things at once. So we gave her some strategies, which included herbs like ashwagandha and bacopa to strengthen her nervous system and focus, and soon she was able to lock in to her work without being so distracted. A simple understanding of your child’s type may help explain what they are going through and why.
Of the three learning styles recognized by most educators, Elle learns best auditorily, rather than visually or kinesthetically. She usually does well in school, which strongly favors this body type, as almost all the information is delivered verbally. Elle tends to be a little nervous or even anxious at times, but her natural mental and physical quickness will ultimately prove to be her greatest assets.
At home, she is the one with dry flaky skin and possibly even eczema. If her skin is dry, then her intestines might be also, making her susceptible to constipation.
Elle may also not be the best sleeper. She may wake up easily and find herself in Mom and Dad’s bed way too often. Because of her quick-minded temperament, she will be a thinker, so it is important to take precautions to prevent her from thinking too much and becoming a worrier. The winter type is a higher maintenance body type and these children should be carefully guided through the stressful childhood years.
Jessica: The Fiery Summer Pitta Child
Jessica is a fiery summer pitta type. She learns best visually and excels in schoolwork, particularly in math and other visually oriented subjects. She wears a face full of adorable freckles and sports two long and slightly curly red pigtails. Jessica is an extremely competitive girl, quick to take command and lead the class if necessary. Her fiery mind tends to drive her body hard, and she is something of a perfectionist. This trait often makes her the best at whatever she chooses to do, but on the negative side, it sometimes makes her overly demanding of herself. If she doesn’t win or come out on top, it can really get her down. In summer, Jessica’s face turns bright red when she gets overheated, which isn’t hard for her to do since her body type naturally carries a lot of heat.
Jessica is a bit more durable physically and mentally than quick-minded Elle, but her parents need to be aware of her weaknesses in order for her to maintain perfect health. Because she runs hot, she has a tendency to get more skin rashes and acne than other types. This heat may also affect her emotionally and she may tend towards anger, bad sportsmanship, and bullying if not guided at a young age.
She is a natural leader, but may not always be well-liked, as she can put other children down in an effort to make herself feel more important, thus making more enemies than friends. We all know children like this and parents can surely intervene here and support more balanced behavior. A gentle cooling herb to support pitta children would be Brahmi Brain.
Hank: The Steady Spring Kapha Child
The third basic constitutional type couldn’t be more accurately embodied than by Hank. One of the bigger boys in his class, Hank is a spring, or kapha, type. By nature, he is slow to learn, but once he gets it, he’s got it for life. He is just the opposite of Elle, who takes in information quickly but can’t remember it for very long. Hank learns best kinesthetically. Hank is a late bloomer, and when older, will be able to command any field of activity. Hank’s demeanor is calm and tranquil; people like him and feel comfortable around him. He moves slowly and methodically with no wasted effort. In our fast-paced world, Hank runs the risk of being labeled “slow” because he is a methodical thinker, but he has just as much or more natural talent and ability as the other two types.
Hank is a spring type and because he possesses more of the water and earth elements, he naturally produces more mucus than the other two types. He will tend to be prone to colds and coughs, and parents have to be careful not to feed him excessive amounts of mucus-producing foods, like mac-n-cheese, pizza, or cold milk and cereal.
Hank may be at risk of gaining weight—this can easily be avoided if his proclivities for eating and slower metabolism are detected and prevented early. Exercise will be important for Hank, but it had best be fun or he will have no interest. Hank enjoys team sports and games involving other people. His natural strength will make him popular when choosing up sides for football, and he will probably bat clean-up on the baseball team. A great herb for gentle stimulation of kapha is Turmeric Plus.
Keeping Track of Your Kids’ Health
By knowing what traits make your children who they are, you can also learn to identify behaviors they exhibit when they’re out of balance. Once you become familiar with the normal traits of your child’s type, then the abnormal or imbalanced traits will be obvious and treatable days or weeks before a symptom may arise.
Note: For more detailed descriptions of the body types and how to keep your child in balance, check out my book Perfect Health For Kids.
Want to find out your own body type? Take the quiz here.