Ayurveda is an ancient, time-tested style of holistic medicine that supports one in allowing better health and happiness into life. “Ayur” - life or longevity and “Veda” - knowledge; so Ayurveda is the “Knowledge of Life or Longevity”. As one applies the principles of Ayurveda in his day-to-day life, he can live a disease free, long life. The prime objective of Ayurveda is to prevent dis-ease. As children are the building blocks of the society, incorporating Ayurveda principles in their lives will help enhance their physical and mental health, thereby promoting a healthy and disease free society. The physical and mental development during childhood period forms the foundation of the rest of his / her life. Diet, Lifestyle and Behavior are very important to maintain Child’s mental and physical health.

DIET

Five Main Rules of food intake -

1. Take timely meals in proper quantity, preferably freshly prepared and warm

2. Concentrate on food while eating and eat food at pace. Avoid watching television, talking or laughing during meal

3. Eat in relaxed condition, be seated

4. Don´t eat too slow or too fast

5. Avoid fasting and overeating

Foods for health and promoting growth in children -

1. Recommended fats - Ghee and olive oil,

2. Recommended sugar includes organic raw sugar, honey, rock sugar, and jaggery.

3. Excess of anything, even though good for health is not advisable.

4. Recommended dairy products - Milk, paneer, freshly made curd and buttermilk.

5. Recommended Nuts and Dry fruits – Soaked raisins, almonds and walnuts.

6. Recommended Spices - Turmeric, pepper, cumin enhance digestion.

7. Reduce junk food or canned, frozen or packaged foods, carbonated drinks.

LIFESTYLE

Ayurveda daily routine - better health 24 hours a day -

From bedtime to bedtime there is a full day of simple Ayurvedic activities that promote health and wellbeing. Introduce a child to these at an early age and they can become habits for life.

1. Ayurveda recommends an early bird lifestyle - Waking up at sunrise (5 - 6 am)

2. Face/nose/mouth wash - Wash your face and your eyes with water. Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper and gargle mouth with sesame oil.

3. Exercise - Early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body and mind and allows your energy to flow. Walking / pranayama (breathing exercises)/ yoga – 30 minutes.

4. Self-Massage - Massage keeps us strong and is beneficial for body and mind. Ayur veda recommends that you massage yourself with a bit of warm oil for about 5 minutes is sufficient. Massage the scalp, forehead, hands and feet.

5. Bath – Daily bath helps maintain personal hygiene and gives a feeling of freshness to start the new day.

6. Eat your breakfast – Eat before 8 am. Eat moderate breakfast, preferably cooked food and not sandwich or biscuit daily.

7. School/ Office – Do all work mindfully and at pace, concentrate on what you do.

8. Midday lunch – It should be the only heaviest / main meal of the day– Eat between 12.30 – 1.30 pm.

9. Short nap can be taken if needed after lunch for 15 – 20 min. Do not sleep, but a short nap is no harm.

10. Meditation - In the evening back home, after refreshing, sit still in a silent area and focus on your breath.

11. Evening hours – Use less TV and computer, utilize time for more productive work or studies or sports.

12. Dinner - Dinner is recommended to be taken between 7 and 8 pm and should be lighter. Do not go to bed or watch TV or Computer immediately after dinner. Walk few steps inside the house after dinner to enable digestion.

13. Sleep – Go to sleep early, between 9 – 10 pm.

BEHAVIOR

Behavior also plays an important role in children's health. Because children are in the growing, stage of life, it's especially important that they see only nurturing television shows and movies. Watching violent entertainment or spending time with friends who are often angry or jealous can create impurities in the mental channels. This results in a decrease in mental acuity and creativity. Acahara Rasayana (Behavioural rasayana) comprises of health-promoting behavior. Some behavioral Rasayanas are Regular Meditation, Be sweet spoken, kind, gentle, calm, truthful, loving, compassionate, polite, well-mannered, clean, optimistic, persevering, Respect parents, teachers and elders, Keep the company of good friends, Always follow your daily routine.

Present day problems of children

Today most children are affected with learning difficulties; low self-esteem and behavioral problems like impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity, as well as inattentiveness are due to diet, lifestyle and behavior. Ayurveda helps in treatment and prevention of the present day problems, the natural way. Mental performance can be expanded to its full potential with proper nutrition, quality sleep and the balanced wisdom of herbs (Medhya Rasayana’s – For rejuvenation of the mind) that can strengthen the immune system, nourish the mind and support the health of children of all ages in a safe and holistic manner.

Need of Ayurvedic Awareness

In our modern world, we blindly believe that vaccinations and antibiotics are beneficial for prevention and treatment of diseases. Of course, at times such things can be necessary. But too often it can be substituted with Ayurvedic advises which is a safe and natural way to improve the function of the immune system thereby increasing disease resistance. Ayurveda has much to offer in the way of gentle and effective health care and disease prevention for children through diet and lifestyle, as well as the use of medicinal herbs and spices.

“The object of teaching is to enable a child to get along without his teacher.” This quote has a connection to Ayurveda. So let’s educate growing children about the benefits of Ayurveda for a healthy future.