Parenting is not as simple as it used to be. In the 21st century, parents are often faced with a multitude of differing opinions on various aspects of child rearing, whether it be breast-feeding, diet or sleep to name but a few areas. Lifestyle advice is an important part of your child’s treatments at the Panda Clinic. But, rather than giving you yet another opinion, we aim to help you sift through all the conflicting information there is out there and pinpoint bits of it which are particularly pertinent to your child.
“The five grains act as nourishment; the five fruits from the trees serve to augment; the five domestic animals provide additional benefit; the five vegetables serve to complete the nourishment.” Nei Jing Chapter 22
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, children’s digestive systems are not yet fully developed. It is therefore very easy for a child’s digestion to become out of kilter. Sometimes, just small changes in a child’s diet can make an enormous difference to their health and well-being. Based on an individual and thorough diagnosis of your child’s constitution, I may make some suggestions of foods that would either particularly suit your child or, conversely, may be hard for your child to digest.
For more information on dietary principles according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, please see the attached document: Chinese Dietary Wisdom for Children
Rest and Activity
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, babies and young children can be put into two broad categories which describe their constitutional energy. The first category is ‘full’ children, and the second is empty’ children. Neither category is better or worse than the other, but knowing which category your child falls into can be enormously helpful in knowing what kind of lifestyle will best suit them. The ‘full’ children are ones with red rosy cheeks, lots of energy, big appetites and loud voices. The ’empty’ children are the ones who tend to be pale faced, picky eaters, enjoy snuggling up to mum and don’t make so much noise.
‘Full’ Children need lots of time running around outside and sometimes need to be encouraged to eat a bit less as their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. ‘Empty’ children need really regular rests, peaceful playtimes and encouragement to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible.
There are so many wonderful activities and sources of stimulation for babies and children today. Understanding what kind of constitution your child has can be helpful in guiding you towards creating a lifestyle in which your child will grow and thrive.
Screentime and social media
Managing a child’s screentime and encouraging a healthy attitude towards social media can be enormously stressful for parents. Unfortunately, for some children, their digital media habits can be a cause of imbalance. For example, being on a screen for too long encourages a child’s qi to rise up to their head which can be a contributory factor in symptoms such as insomnia, headaches or hyperactivity. When I feel it would help your child’s physical symptoms to change their screen habits, I will discuss this with you and your child. Sometimes a child will be more willing to make changes when they hear it from someone who is not their parent, and when they understand there is a connection between their screen habits and their physical symptoms.