New Delhi: Parenting is a crucial responsibility that entails bringing up a child mentally, physically, and socially in the best possible way. It is a difficult task for both parents as well as single parents.
Rekha Babu, Co-founder and CEO, Soothika has described various ways Ayurveda can be incorporated in the task of parenting. It can improve the parents' lifestyles which their children grow on to emulate, and can also help them to be calm and peaceful which is an ideal parenting trait.
Beginning with infancy, when the child needs breastfeeding, Ayurveda comes into play for the mothers. It is the infant's first food up to six months, and the sole source of boosting their immunity; breastfeeding also strengthens the mother-child bond. For mothers who feel they cannot generate sufficient milk, and want to improve lactation, herbal drugs can be used in different forms to feed the child.
Teething is the second crucial stage of a child's life. In preparartion for solid foods, children are given purees of vegetables and pulses, which have high nutritive value. Foods having vitamin D and calcium are recommended during this stage. Some natural remedies to soothe teething can be practised too, such as biting on particular foods, rubbing the gums of the child with oils etc.
Problems of indigestion, colic, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, etc. are likely when a child is introduced to food products, or even during breastfeeding. For such problems, herbal medicines like cumin, nutmeg, dried ginger and products like ashtachoornam, uramarunnu, etc., can be used, preferably when Agni of the child is altered, says Babu.
All good daily habits and disciplines like waking up, teeth brushing, praying and cleaning up, can be easily taught to children when parents start following them too. Children learn more quickly from the age of one and one-and-a-half to two while imitating the elders.
Meditation and Yoga help stay calm, and are beneficial to parents as well as the kids if they are taught from the very beginning, as habits inculcated in childhood stay on till adulthood. Pranayama, that can enhance breathing and solve respiratory illnesses, can also be taught early.
Ayurveda can help parents identify the bodily constituency of their child and add herbal drugs that can pacify the aggravated doshas in their daily diet.
Ayurveda aims at attaining an equilibrium of doshas, dhatus, mala, agni, i.e. healthy soul, mind, sense organs, thus constituting a healthy lifestyle. Dantadhavana(teeth brushing), Gandoosha(gargling), Abhyanga, vyayama in the form of yoga, meditation and prayer, incorporating foods and herbs/drugs that are compatible for life are prescribed ways, along with proper sleep and rest, to attain that aim. According to Ayurveda, ahara and vihara aggravate doshas.
The branch of Kaumarabhritya (paediatrics) offers ayurvedic medicines to cure problems that occur till adult life, and if taken with correct supervision, can boost immunity and improve the child intellectually, physically and mentally. With the help of Ayurveda and a healthy lifestyle, parents can provide holistic wellnes to both their child and themselves.