I met a mama recently that told me her kid was expelled from school - he was five. The nurses/teachers wanted him to be tested for ADHD as he wasn't paying attention. I met the kid and looked in his eyes and he is present and has that wonderful wicked spark of being alive; he likes to listen to Leonard Cohen for goodness sake. He was SUCH A DELIGHT to watch at play. He was such a delight to talk with. No baby talk here, he paid more attention to our conversation than I've had with some adults. They have decided to home school him instead.
ADHD. Possibly a reason for bad food habits. Possibly a reason for ineffective teachers that can't keep up with the immense curiosity of the current breed of kids. One school system, many different levels of being trying to squeeze in. On top of that is the beautiful Ayurvedic philosophy, which recognises that each kid (and big kid) is different, and will have different learning capacities and need different types of inspiration (not everyone is inspired by LISTS of FACTS).
On top of that is the kids ability to learn and their relationship with food. Breakfast may make one kid feel grounded and another feel like you just put a brick on her head that she is trying to hold up with enormous effort whilst listening to instructions.
Kids don't have the ability to choose their guru, not in the traditional sense. Not everyone can afford the specialty schools of Steiner or private education. But parents can participate in their kids learning, similar to the way us practitioners do in Ayurveda - get the basics down and then seek extra curricular according to our temperament. So in a way, I guess I'm inviting all parents to "home school", so to speak, to account for their kids individual nature.
- Working on adult solutions like fixing cards, baking cakes, anything that involves solving things. It's not ideal to brush a Pitta kid out of the way. With a little patience (from a Pitta parent ;)), your kid will naturally help you solve the issue since they are more limitless than you probably are.
- Give them responsibility that makes them feel like they are a cute little boss of something. Treat them like you would a work colleague and ask for check ins. Ask their opinion. They will feel valued.
- Help them to schedule. Give them a bigger picture outline that involves their homework and their playtime. Pitta minds just love the schedule and the little feelings of achievement and feeling like they have some control over their destiny.
- Art. Art. Art. Limitless has to be the name of the game. Vata does NOT like the idea of the box (even though secretly the parents will be creating a strong daily routine for them) so to be told they are not conforming is disheartening for a Vata kid. Give them room (or SPACE as the element in Vata calls for). Tell them they can imagine ANYTHING.
- Listen to your Vata child. They don't have the power and strength of the other two doshas and may appear more fragile and subtle. At school they might feel like they drown in the crowds and disappear. Give them the feeling of substance by validating their existence with listening and touching them in a nurturing way, even if they talk in circles, stutter or forget their point. And make sure they don't feel lonely - encourage social interaction so they feel part of something.
- Little bits of homework on a regular basis. Remember a Vata kids digestive system is fragile so small amounts of regular homework are better. They should not do all nighters or be trained to think they should later on. This might require talking with respective teachers on how they approach the idea of homework and digestive capacity.
- Take them for a bike ride or run around the park after school or before school depending on scheduling. Before even attempting homework, a cute little stocky Kapha kidlet should invigorate as the idea of "prepping" for work. This will be a lifelong valuable technique.
- Chores are good, especially physical ones. Get little Kapha kids to carry things for you. They love to be appreciated and are the best little lovers that will want to help you as long as you acknowledge them.
- Test them on memory more than processing. In this respect the traditional school system works for Kapha kids as there is a lot of rote learning involved. Accept the process is slower with Kapha but the retention is much longer than the other two doshas.
Need to know they have positive traits. Ayurveda is not about looking for the disease in your kid, it's looking for their best qualities and learning as a parent how to enhance them. The journey is a lot easier when you know yourself since your kid will share similar qualities.