Nurturing Touch for Older Children
It’s easy to love on and snuggle our babies. We’re born needing and craving touch.
Here is a brief article on the “Importance of Human Touch.” In the article they talk about how touch promotes growth in infants, and how as children grow they are touched less and less — seniors receive the least amount of touch out of all age groups.
That’s really sad, don’t you think? Why do we touch less as we get older? Maybe it’s because others are not comfortable with watching people touch in public. Maybe they weren’t loved on much as a child. Maybe because our society has to sexualize everything.
Touch is essential for our survival. Without it babies can die, and children and adults can become angry or depressed.
So, what about older kids? Searching the internet, it was hard to find information on nurturing touch for older children. Most people consider 5/6/7 and up older, so we’ll go with the age range of five and up.
My four- and seven-year-old still climb in my lap from time to time — the four-year-old more than her big sister. I love snuggling up with my kids on the couch. I have made it a point to frequently touch my family throughout the day. It helps us to stay connected.
What if you have children that don’t really like to cuddle? Maybe you have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. They may or may not crave touch. There are plenty of ways to touch our children to let them know we love them, and are thinking about them as they get older. Keep your unique child in mind, and provide nurturing touch in a way that is respectful of your child.
The eyes are the window to the soul. When you make eye contact with your children, you’re touching their heart. You let them know that you care, you love them, and you’re listening.
It can be a quick glance as you pass each other in the hall, sit across the table, cook together, etc. Or it can be a more deep connection while they’re talking to you.
Such a simple yet powerful act.
Something I’ve done with my kids that helps us stay connected throughout the day, especially when we’re busy bees on the go, is light touch.
If we’re at the park and they come back for a drink, I might rub the top of their head, or their back. I do this quite often at home.
It could be a light touch on the arm in passing.
Hugs and Kisses
I am constantly hugging and kissing on my son who’s almost two. The older ones get hugs and kisses usually in passing. You may even want to try eskimo or butterfly kisses with your kids.
My seven-year-old frequently asks if she can hug me, or will walk up to me and hug me. I love this! She also enjoys bear hugs from her daddy.
There are times when she is all about the touch, usually throughout the day, but at night when she’s winding down for bed, she doesn’t want anything to touch her. Part of this is due to her sensory sensitivities, and we respect that.
Maybe your older child doesn’t care for all the public displays of affection, and that’s ok! Every child is different.
Other ways to provide nurturing touch for the older child can include:
Skin to Skin
Try out back rubs, foot rubs, or tracing letters or shapes on their feet or back.
Tag, duck duck goose, etc.
Roughhousing can be a great way to get out energy and connect with your kids.
However, make sure your child keeps the lead in these activities. If they say stop, you stop. If they say no, then don’t do it.
Touch is energy, and touch moves energy. Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb and the last to leave in old age.
We need touch to help us develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. Touch can relax, comfort, and heal us. We need touch the same way that we need air and food. Keep finding ways to give the gift of loving touch to your kids as they grow.
Darcel, Author of Mahogany Way
Darcel is a stay at home mama to Nakiah (5.5yrs), Ava (3yrs), & Samuel (born May 2010). They are a Christian, attachment parenting, unschooling family. Her favorite colors are red and pink, she loves chocolate and peanut butter, and she a lip gloss addict who misses wearing high heels.
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