Generally speaking, children at 12 to 36 months of age are considered toddlers. The word ‘toddler’ is derived from ‘to toddle’ which means to walk unsteadily. In addition to learning to walk, toddlers sensory and cognitive skills will be improved during this period and social and emotional development also happens during this time.
Ayurveda generally considers childhood as a period predominant in Kapha Dosha. Childhood is all about growth, accumulation of body mass and the formation of tissues. This increased kapha influence is complicated by the fact that childhood is also the stage during which we develop immunity.
Ayurveda addresses every aspect of a child’s health starting from the period before conception. For developing proper immunity, along with health and hygiene, it’s always good to maintain a routine which can help in increasing the sattva guna (positive qualities) in themselves.
Ayurveda For Toddlers
This is what a typical day of my daughter (16 months) looks like. This is a perfect daily routine for your little one.
1. Early to bed, Early to rise
Maintain an early bird lifestyle for your toddler. My little girl wakes up around 6am and goes to bed around 9pm at night.
2. Wash Up
Brush their tiny wing teeth with a pinch of salt and cinnamon powder. Wash their face in warm water.
3. Build Immunity
Everyday give them an Ayurvedic massage or Abhyanga with Nalpamaradi Kera Thailam or sesame oil. Do head massage with virgin coconut oil. Massage the crown of the head in long circular clockwise strokes.
4. Bathe Naturally
After Abhyanga, give them a hot water bath. Instead of soap, use a homemade herbal bath powder like this one.
Ayurvedic Herbal Bath Powder For Toddlers
2 cups green gram
2 cups rose petals
1 cup ashoka flowers (Saraca Ashoka)
Take the ingredients on a plate and dry them inside for three days. If its summer time after 3 days, place them outside to dry in the sun’s rays for one additional day. Once dry, place everything in a blender and powder finely. Sieve and keep in an air tight container.
While giving your toddler a bath, instead of soap you can use this powder. It makes the baby’s skin soft and keeps it moisturized. It is very important to get rid of the oil while bathing, or else the baby may catch cold.
After the bath, a clean cotton towel can be used to dry their body. Don’t rub. Dry them gently, patting with a towel.
5. Break The Fast
Breakfast is usually rice pancakes, sautéed vegetables or banana. After breakfast, give them a daytime nap. My toddler’s nap will last for two hours.
6. Lunch Time
Lunch is usually rice and moong dal kichadi, an easy to digest bean soup, with some vegetables like carrots, spinach and broccoli.
Limit screen time to a maximum of half an hour per day. Instead given them toys or books of their choice.
8. Time To Eat
Dinner is given at an early hour around 7pm and consists of grains, vegetables and fruits.
Before bed, give them a gentle hot water bath and apply oil to the feet. Giving a warm body bath and oiling the soles of the feet is soothing and can induce good sleep in toddlers. Put them to bed by 8:30-9pm.
Maintaining a typical daily routine helps your child to gain a rhythmic, balanced physiology and emotional stability. When Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha are in balance, the mind and body are at peace. Also, following a routine helps in getting proper digestion, assimilation and intellectual abilities in children.