I recently came across, The Power of a Parent’s Touch and the post resonated with me so much. Now that my oldest is nearly 4, I can feel he’s on the cusp of a time when my touch won’t always be wanted. Already, he occasionally shrugs me off if I snuggle too close and he no longer drops everything and comes running at the suggestion of a hug. I mostly take it in stride but this small shift has me focusing more and more on the connections that are made through touch.
I think about a fascinating conversation I had with an ex-submarine sailor at my husband’s Christmas party last year. He talked about military men being so starved for human touch they would routinely, and without thought, pat each other’s arms or stand shoulder-to-shoulder while talking – just to feel that connection.
And I’m noticing the effect my children’s touch has on me. There’s a moment in our routine each day when my 2 year old gingerly places her plump fingers around my neck as she struggles to step into her pants. It’s clumsy and fleeting, yet I still experience physical joy each time it happens. It’s such an endearing gesture of trust and love. My kids are little enough that they still naturally hold hands quite often too. The utter sweetness of it gets me every time.
Finally, I’ve been wondering if my children’s attitudes towards my touch will continue to change until one day they won’t tolerate it all except for maybe a goodnight hug. Do all kids eventually hit this stage or is it dependent on various factors like temperament and environment?
I’ve heard great things about The 5 Love Languages, a relationship book based on the premise that every person has a primary love language they most respond to: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch, and now there’s a version for kids: The 5 Love Languages of Children. I’m heavily considering putting this one next on the list for our virtual book club.
For now though, I’m concentrating on being more mindful with my interactions with the kids and trying to incorporate loving touch into our daily routines. If you’d like to do the same, the article mentioned above has some great suggestions.
I’d love to know, how do you connect with your kiddos through touch – hugs, hair braiding, rough housing? Share with us in the comments.
P.S. Speaking of our virtual book club, you may have noticed we didn’t post yesterday as scheduled. We got a bit off-track with the launch of the new design but we’ll be back covering chapters 4 and 5 next Tuesday, September 11th. In the meantime you can check out what we’ve covered so far here and get your copy of the book here.
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