The importance of touching ... Ellen-Noor Langeslag has her heart in children. She is the author of the book "Spelenderwijs" and she has made the CD of the same name. She is a primary school teacher and currently works in special education. She is also Mind Body Coach (for adults and children) and Chi Neng Qi Gong-instructor and she gives playful workshops.
From the moment we come here on earth, we need contact. We would die without touch.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture where touch decreases over time. It is not normal for us to touch someone else lovingly. As a child, cuddling is normal, but in the course of time it often decreases because it is no longer tough, it does not belong anymore. I see this in boys from about eight years old in my area. Unfortunately, this is the collective behavior.
Mind body coaching
I am aware of it now. I have been working in education for about twenty years now. After I had done the Mind Body Coaching training at Roy Martina, I realized that we all need touch. We are no longer aware of it or some of us even have a negative association with touching.
You see with loving massage of babies who cry a lot, the children become much calmer and start crying less. It gives the child relaxation and rest and most importantly a feeling of security. It also gives self-confidence and has a positive effect on growth, health, well-being, learning ability, the capacity for social behavior, body awareness and communication skills.
It has been scientifically proven, among other things at the Touch Research Institute in Florida (USA), that patients who are lovingly touched heal faster.
I introduced a few years ago to my toddler group. All this went playfully. First of all, I had the children massage each other. It all started with a song that we always sang when we played outside and went inside. During the song I let the children stamp the sand of their shoes and the sand of their clothes beat. I started to expand with sand from each other's clothes. The children stood in line and knocked the child's sand in front of them. This event expanded further and further. We also knocked the sand off, if no one had played in the sandbox. We then rubbed laps on each other, massaging shoulders, massaging ears, massaging the head. And that's how the riding massage came about. The children enjoyed it. And it became a new ritual.
... One of my favorite exercises is the car wash ...
We also entered the driving massage. Playful massage was extended. For example, drawing figures on pairs of backs in pairs and then guessing what it was. From the book 'Touching, a first necessity of life' I got even more massage games. This book is highly recommended for massaging preschoolers to adolescents. One of my favorite exercises is the car wash. The children make groups of four or five. One child is in the middle and the others are around it. The child in the middle (on all fours) is the dirty car. The children around it are the car wash and so the dirty car is cleaned; water on it, soap, rinse, dry and wipe dry. The children have a lot of fun and enjoy. This has also become a regular part of my Games Education workshops. It is fantastic to see that most adults have as much fun and enjoy themselves.
I also deliberately introduced cuddling to the children. And regularly we have cuddly moments in the group. A moment in which they can give everyone a hug. In the beginning there were children who did not want to participate. That was okay. They did get hugs from children, but they did not look for it themselves. But after a while everyone participated. It is also fantastic to see how children congratulate the birthday job. A reception shop is then created. Everyone can congratulate in his own way; high fives, hand, kiss, hug. After the children are accustomed to touching / cuddling everyone, the birthday job also gets a hug. He is shining!
From parents I was told that their children also cuddled more at home. Of a number of parents, whose children have autistic forms, I heard that the children also cuddled their parents. These were children who had never cuddled their parents.
What struck me is that there is less need for fighting in the groups where massaging / being touched / cuddled. The children love each other more lovingly. Children naturally have the need to touch each other. And because in our culture, loving touch such as hugging and massaging is not common, children seek other ways to touch each other. These are often touches in the form of hitting, kicking or larger forms of violence.
When two children are fighting and one of them gets out by kicking or hitting the other and you ask him / her whether it was the intention to hurt the other person, most children say no. Children are often shocked when you ask this question for the first time. They do not realize that they are hurting another. They just wanted to kick. (read touch)
I am convinced that when children grow up from a young age, they touch, massage, cuddle, that there is less to no senseless violence.