The Power of Touch

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We all know that touch is incredibly important and we must teach children safe, appropriate and caring touches. Children need to know the difference between a safe touch and a hurtful touch. Some children don’t know their own strength and even something as lovely as a hug can turn into a squeeze which may be hurtful. There is a great site that explains how you can teach “The Underwear Rule” here. Share it with your colleagues and parents!

Teaching children by connecting with them via touch allows us to keep all children safe, as well as build relationships between children and their classmates and you as their immediate care provider. It is important for you to model appropriate touching and to intervene when play may step over into physical or emotional hurt.

Here are five top tips for connecting through touch:

???? Touch can be comforting. When a child falls and scrapes their knee, sometimes a gentle hug or a rub on their back can make everything feel better.

???? Touch can guide children to a better choice. A gentle hand at the small of a child’s back can help shepherd them to the next activity. A tap on the shoulder can gain their attention so you can direct them to what is happening next.

???? Touch can express pride. A pat on the back, a high five or a fist bump can make a child feel so special and full of recognition for their efforts.

???? Touch can express love. A hug, a child who wants to curl up with you on your lap, even a big bear hug can all show your children just how much you love them. It is a wonderful feeling to be so close to a child that they completely feel safe in your care. This should be our goal for all children.

???? Touch helps keep everybody safe. You may have to stand between two children who are having a hard time controlling their actions. This allows you to put some physical space in between them, but it also enables you then to teach how we can use appropriate words to solve our problems rather than unsafe actions.

When I was reading up on Conscious Discipline I found out that the skin and brain are made up of the same embryonic tissue and that touch creates a hormone that is essential to neural functioning and learning! How amazing is that?! If your place of work has a ‘no touch’ rule, please consider finding out more about how we cannot live without touch and use that research to present an argument for appropriate touch in the care of educators.

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Emma is The Play Coach who loves everything and anything to do with play. Play is children's work and she thinks it should be adult's work too. Connect with Emma for consultations and trainings that promote wonder, joy and well-being through the power of play.

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