infants

Newborn babies are happiest being held all day long; your loving, encircling arms soothe and reassure them. Because there are several babies in a group, you need to make sure each one gets "touching time" all through the day. Be sure to hold your babies during bottle-feeding. Rocking and letting a baby curl a hand around your finger provide the right recipe for a baby to feel relaxed and ready to feed!

Diapering time is an excellent chance to fill a baby's "touch quotient" for the day. Caress baby's tummy, arms, and legs. Touch the baby's bottom gently as you clean and diaper him. Sit the baby up so that he can see himself in a mirror placed right at the diapering table. Then, as you hold his back and exclaim how handsome he looks, he'll feel your sturdy, supporting arm as he sees your admiring smile along with his own in the mirror.

Touch Teaches Body Boundaries Touch puts invigorating boundaries on a baby's body. As you caress an infant, she wriggles with joy. She thrusts her legs out over and over and coos happily. When you caress a baby with long palmar strokes, she senses where she is and where the outer world begins. You are giving the baby a chance to understand herself physically in space and in the world of others. Every baby will enjoy being draped over your belly in the classroom rocking chair. Croon and relax. The baby will, too.

A Taste of Calmness, a Taste of Intimacy Many babies have colic during the early months, or they have gas or spit up a lot. Massage is great for relieving tummy distress! Take 10 minutes a day to massage each baby in your group who seems tense from colic or perhaps from separating from her mother. Use long strokes to massage each leg and arm. Use hand-over-hand palmar strokes slowly in a counterclockwise direction to soothe a baby's tummy or relieve gas pains. After you have massaged a baby on one side, turn him over so that you can make long, swooping palmar strokes from his neck all the way down to his toes. Some babies particularly need massage strokes on the cheeks and around the mouth to ease teething pain and to lessen the chance of tension that can lead to biting.

toddlers

Toddlers are often on the go. They do not want to lie patiently and wait for a diaper change. They dash and fling and run, run, run. But they also need caresses and touches to anchor them in the world of loving kindness and caring that you provide.

Story Time: A Chance for Lap Time Share picture books daily and be sure to provide generous snuggle space on your lap for a restless toddler who needs the security and relaxation that contact with you provides. Some toddlers will get comfort from simply leaning up against you as you sit on the floor and share a picture book with the group.

Simple contacts during the day do a lot. A pat on the head or a caress on the cheek is a good way to express admiration when a toddler manages to finish a puzzle or has been generously sharing his crayons with another child.

Loving Touches Boost Emotional Health Loving touches are the cornerstone to boosting emotional health. Be sure that you give a generous supply of caresses, kisses, and hugs, along with lap time, shoulder carrying, and back rubs to create a harmonious, safe environment for children.