Winter Care for Children
Natural Home Nursing – Care of the Child through Winter
Recently on a wintery May evening, Weleda nurse Michelle Vette, spoke on ‘The care of the child through winter’ at Mangarau Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten. This was a warmly welcomed and insightful talk that left many parents fortified against the cold, inspired and enthusiastic to apply their new-found knowledge.
Michelle spoke of how in the early years of a child’s life imitation plays such a formative role. Through imitation and sensory experience children form their bodies and their relation to the world, so from this perspective illness can be viewed as an imitative response. While children are often quick to ‘catch’ whatever illness is going around, they are also quick to recover given the appropriate care and convalescence.
Michelle gave a picture of what she terms ‘the four pillars of health’, these being: warmth (clothing, shelter, love, belief); rhythm (the predictable flow of the day, such as regularity of meals and sleep); care of the senses (fostering healthy experience, limiting sensory overload); immunity (strengthening the body’s resilience and defence).
She then went on to demonstrate a few practical winter tips, focusing on the humble lemon, that perfect winter fruit, available when we need it most.
Three ways to use a lemon
A hot lemon and honey drink to soothe sore throats and to ward off winter chills.
A lemon compress to draw out painful inflammation of the throat: Slice a lemon and arrange on a strip of cloth, folding lengthways. Wrap around the throat and secure.
A lemon footbath for well-being, and to stimulate blood circulation and ground the body: Fill a tub with hot water, testing for temperature. Cut a lemon in half and scrape the outer skin with a fork to release the essential oils. Submerge, cutting into the pith to release its grounding bitterness, and finally press the lemon halves to squeeze out the sour juice. Soak then dry the feet, rubbing with oil to seal in the lemony goodness. Weleda makes a lovely children’s massage oil containing hypericum, chamomile and lavender, but even a little olive oil will do the trick.
Parents were impressed to observe the immediate effect and the simplicity of these methods. Footbaths are a soothing, nurturing treatment that can be administered while cooking dinner or attending to other children. And simple gestures, such as draping a towel over the child’s lap to cover their legs, convey a feeling of being cared for even at a distance.
Michelle also showed parents how to apply a hot chest compress to shift stubborn coughs and respiratory illnesses (Weleda makes a thick, viscous paste containing strong aromatic eucalyptus, rosemary and pine oils for this purpose). Several parents testified to the effectiveness of this particular treatment and shared their own time-honoured tips.
Michelle’s talk gave a taste of what parents can do in caring naturally for their children through these winter months, and for many this has whet their appetites for more. Thank you Michelle!
Taruna offers short courses on Natural Nursing Care for Families, empowering parents and caregivers with the skills to confidently nurse their children at home in a practical and holistic way.