I just went to lunch with an old friend of mine. In the course of catching up, we talked about parenting (I mean, it comes up :)), and in...
What Season is Your Child?
In the tradition of eastern medicine, the seasons play a role in understanding not only our environment, but as a template for understanding our own internal environments, our constitutions.Similar to the ‘archetypes’ described by Carl Jung, or the signs of the horoscope, each child (and adult) can be said to have a predominant ‘season’ or constitution, beginning at birth. Your child’s ‘season’ has relatively little to do with the month of their birth – although there may be a correspondence. Instead, it has more to do with what constitutional strengths, weaknesses and general attributes help to make your child who they are; Your child’s ‘Season’ is like his or her physical and psychological blueprint.
We can recognize the season that most influences our child’s health by looking at clues in their appearance, their likes and dislikes, their personality traits, general disposition and the illnesses and symptoms they tend to demonstrate most frequently. Figuring out your child’s natural constitution can help you to support them through dietary choices, health choices, and environmental choices in which they’ll thrive. Like any tool of this nature, the season of your child is meant only to help us begin to take notice of our child’s physical and personality patterns, and to use for entertainment purposes. Here, we have simplified the seasons by way of introduction. Each of the seasons exists within every child within some measure.
In honor of our last week of March, and the blue bonnets springing to new life along the freeways and gardens of Texas right now, here's a look at The Spring Child. To ascertain your child's dominant "Season", you can answer 10 questions on our Mommy's ER Quiz: What Season is Your Child?
THE SPRING CHILD
The Spring child’s constitution tends to be robust. Seeking challenge and pushing themselves to their limits, Spring children generally have lots of energy and vitality. Often the Spring child will act first, ask later, and play with things before he or she knows how. Spring children are hands-on learners. They also tend toward quick emotional changes – from anger and screams to play and smiles in quick succession. Spring children love action and adventure. They also can have very clear likes and dislikes. The health of the spring child is most susceptible to irritability, headache, earache, and muscle pain; sometimes their symptoms will also include indigestion, dry and pebbly stools, or irritable bowels. At their best, Spring children are adventurers – easily enthused and excited, often charismatic. In a state of imbalance, Spring children can be volatile and impatient, inflexible in their pursuits.
Foods that balance Spring Children: starchy vegetables such as beets, carrots; broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts; watercress, sprouted wheat (like ezekial bread). Quinoa and asparagus are also beneficial foods for the spring child. Leafy greens are particularly beneficial (and can be cooked or juiced with a little apple juice or coconut water, depending upon how your child prefers). Pungent foods such as onions, basil, cardamom, mint can help spring children in moderation; moderate use of vinegars in sauces and on salads can benefit spring children; Spring children with a tendency to overheat can also do well with a little raw food in their diet daily.
Possible nutritional supplements: a little bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with honey can calm a Spring child that has become imbalanced or irritable; also try chlorella or spirulina; haw flakes (hawthorn berry ‘candy’ – can be found in asian grocery stores) calms the nervous system and simultaneously supports digestion; burdock root supports the liver and helps clean the blood (can be prepared with other root vegetables as a side dish); DHA supplements (fish oil/algae extract)
Foods that can aggravate spring children: foods high in saturated fat (such as meat, cheese, shortening, margarine), excess of nuts and seeds, eggs, buckwheat, chemicals in food and water, and highly refined/processed foods; limit also highly salty foods, such as soy sauce
Check out the section on Mommy’s ER that has to do with: overstimulation, especially the ‘spinal rolling’ technique (dvd 1); earaches (dvd 1); stomachache (dvd 1), changes in the home (dvd 2), environmental factors (dvd 3)
THE SUMMER CHILD
The Summer child is affectionate and generous, warm, intuitive and charismatic. Summer children tend to thrive on drama both in controlled and uncontrolled settings. The summer child likes to empathize with others; he or she also tends to be exuberant and joyous, laughing readily and easily. He or she can also be prone to exaggeration, in stories and in sentiments. The constitution of the summer child is most susceptible to overheating easily, flushed face, perspiration, illnesses involving heat and fever, rash, insomnia and sometimes eczema. At their best, Summer Children are radiant leaders, with a contagiously optimistic outlook and devotion to friends and family. In a state of imbalance, summer children can be hypersensitive, anxious or easily excitable.
Foods that balance Summer Children: Summer children tend to do the best of all children with raw and cooling foods, especially during the calendar months of summertime. Fresh fruit salads, juices, sprouts can be excellent to keep the natural tendency to overheat in check. Watermelon, cucumber, apple, mint (mixed into fruit salads or in herbal tea), coconut water, modest amounts of tofu, and naturally-sweetened lemonades/limeades are great cool-down choices. Dill and basil are great for a calming effect. Hot spicy food can be helpful to in moderation to induce sweat – in excess they can overly-disperse the energies of a summer child. Less is often more with summer children, who may desire less food than a child of a different seasonal type. Summer children tend to do best with variety.
Possible nutritional supplements: chamomile, oatstraw tea; peppermint – as tea or in fruit salads, as essential oil (1-2 drops in bath) – spearmint best if your child is under 2 years old; for fever, combine peppermint with elder flower; DHA calms nervous system and supports brain functioning; rescue remedy ointment rubbed at temples and wrists; Calms Forte – an excellent homeopathic when used as needed to promote sleep
Foods that can aggravate Summer Children: excessive consumption of grains, white flour, wheat, nuts, or meat; lots of spicy food
Check out the Mommy’s ER sections on: fever, rash – especially techniques to reduce heat (dvd 1); dehydration (dvd 1); disturbed sleep (dvd 2) – especially head massage; healthy sleep (dvd 3)
THE LATE SUMMER CHILD
While ‘late’ or ‘Indian’ summer is not always recognized as a season, in Eastern tradition, it holds the utmost important. The Late Summer Child has characteristics that diverge from all other seasons. Grounded and nurturing, agreeable and accommodating, the Late Summer Child is an ‘earth type’ child. The Late Summer child puts emphasis on harmony and predictability; he or she thrives on routines, consistent mealtimes, and good night’s sleep as a necessity. Late summer children don’t leave their mothers as soon or as readily as other seasons, and their movements may seem slow and deliberate relative to the spring and summer child. They rarely scream or lose their temper, and are more apt to cry if they are upset. The health of the late summer child is most susceptible to digestive difficulties such as diarrhea, loose stools and indigestion. Illnesses can also appear as chronic tiredness. Late summer children can also tend toward mucus-production, yeast overgrowth, or water retention/bloating in times of illness. At their best, Late Summer children are community-builders and peace-makers, who are well-liked and nurturing to others. In a state of imbalance, they tend toward insecurity and worry, they may seem to get their ‘record stuck in a groove’ and may over-eat or under-eat as a means of calming anxiety.
Foods that Balance Late Summer Children: simple foods that are easy to digest, such as brown rice congees (1 cup rice to 6 cups water, slowly simmered), steamed vegetables, especially sweet vegetables such as sweet potatoes and yams. Garbanzo beans, cantaloupe, peas, oats, winter squash, cooked fruits and pungent spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onions and black pepper are also good choices for the late summer child. If your child eats meats, chicken, turkey and lamb in small amounts (prepared in a soup, for example), are strengthening and easily digestible options. Late summer children usually do best with a diet of predominantly cooked food, for easier assimilation by the body. Celery, cucumber and lettuce work well if your late summer child tends to retain excess water. Late summer children can often tolerate goat’s milk better than cow’s milk.
Possible nutritional supplements: consider chamomile, wild blue-green algae, small amounts of raw honey (if over 1 year of age), ginger – in food and/or as a tea, probiotics (including acidophilus, or bifidus if still breast-feeding), digestive enzymes.
Foods that can aggravate Late Summer Children: dairy products, simple sugars, ice cream, hydrogenated fats, peanuts and general overeating can have a more negative effect on late summer children than other children. Avoid complicated dishes, or dishes with many ingredients – few and simple ingredients can improve and strengthen digestion.
Check out the Mommy’s ER sections on: nausea and diarrhea – especially ‘tummy circles’ technique (dvd 1); your child’s diet (dvd 2); digestion and your child’s health (dvd 3)
THE AUTUMN CHILD
The Autumn Child can seem compliant and accepting. Responding well to order and structure, the often-methodical Autumn child has a strong sense that everything belongs in its place. While they sometimes seem quiet, Autumn children place strong value on talking things through and communication. They tend to like to talk new things through without taking action -- they may touch new things, but will like to discuss their use before using them. The health of the Autumn child is most susceptible to lung and respiratory ailments such as dry coughs, or coughs with phlegm, asthma, allergies and skin disorders. Autumn children may also tend toward constipation. At their best, Autumn children are well-respected and virtuous – respecting the needs of other children and rules of authority figures. They will often be seen to do the ‘right’ thing, even if peer pressure dictates the opposite. In a state of imbalance, Autumn children can become picky and/or whiny, using complaining as a primary means of sharing their distresses or displeasures.
Foods that Balance Autumn Children: Autumn children often do very well with sour-flavored foods: yogurt, sourdough bread, pickles, lemons, limes, grapefruits. These sour-flavored foods and others can help with mental focus, and to consolidate scattered energy. Autumn children often do well with pungent foods: spicier foods, and especially garlic. Leafy greens (chard, spinach), pears, plums, barley and modest use of nuts, seeds, avocados, bananas, organic soy products (tempeh, tofu) can also support autumn children, especially if their constitution tends toward dryness – dry lungs, dry skin. Autumn children do well with millet, and foods very high in fiber – apples and oats, for example. If mucus predominates during illness, foods such as cantaloupe, daikon radish, and fresh ginger can help to support and break up phlegm.
Possible Nutritional Supplements: chlorella, licorice root tea, flax seeds; Himalayan sea salt added to food – moistens dryness; marshmallow root and slippery elm bark for cough (slippery elm is also great for constipation, even in babies); loquat syrup for cough
Foods that can aggravate Autumn Children: excess dairy and citrus fruits, low fiber diets
Check out the Mommy’s ER sections on: cough and constipation (dvd 1); allergies and asthma – especially techniques to strengthen the lungs (dvd 2); Nutrition and immune building (dvd 3)
THE WINTER CHILD
The Winter Child tends to be the rarest of the 4 seasons. Modest, intuitive and observant, both curious and careful, the winter child may tend toward reserve and introspection. Winter children tend to be both imaginative and perceptive. This is the seasonal category in which many genius kids are found. Winter children may tend to be sensitive or afraid, but rarely cry. The health of the winter child is most often susceptible to cold, and in times of illness or imbalance they may present with chills, lack of energy or stamina, and disrupted sleep. At their best, winter children are clever, self-sufficient, perceptive and creative. In a state of imbalance, winter children can seem isolated, reticent or fussy.
Foods that balance winter children: Winter children’s constitutions often do better with warm food, at least lightly cooked. Consider well-cooked quinoa and oats, millet, beans – in particular, black beans (especially cooked with a piece of kombu and a pinch of sea salt). Winter children often thrive best with protein to start their day, and protein throughout the day. Good foods also include walnuts, raspberries, strawberries, almonds; consider cooking with ghee (clarified butter). Season foods with cinnamon to warm and stimulate circulation.
Possible nutritional supplements: Winter children often thrive with the addition of bee pollen or royal jelly, and micro-algae – such as spirulina and chlorella. These can be mixed into oatmeals, congees, or juices. Great appetite stimulants for winter children are: anise, cardamom, and sasparilla.
Foods that can aggravate winter children: stay away from too many cold and raw foods, sweets, and excessive use of salt. Also stay away from large amounts of eggs, pork, and cheese (small amounts may be well-tolerated).
Check out the Mommy’s ER Sections on: overstimulation – especially ‘spinal rolling’ (dvd1); cold-variety diarrhea – ways to warm the abdomen (dvd 1); bedwetting (dvd 2); heredity and general immune building (dvd 3)
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