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Massaging your growing child

By Clare Lowing CIMI


You may be thinking that once your baby starts crawling that will be the end of your massage time.  Not at all!   Think in terms of 'positive touch' rather than 'massage' and continue to enjoy yourselves!  Keeping your touch relationship alive with your child as they grow simply needs flexibility and creativity…

Active crawler: Few babies will remain still long enough for a complete massage routine at this age; you may just manage a few feet strokes or a back massage. Keep it fun, by singing a favourite song, for example.

Toddlers: Continue to ask your child's permission for massage.  As they will need to assert their independence, try offering a double positive, such as “would you like your feet or your back massaged?” They will make it clear if they want neither. Use games like This Little Piggy or Round and Round the Garden on their tummy. 

Pre-school child: Now your child has established their independence and may enjoy being a baby again. The massage routine is the same as for babies, but with bigger strokes. Create games, such as making a pizza on their tummy or planting a garden on their back. Make this massage time relevant for your child; you may offer them Tweenies massage or ballerina's massage. Try massaging at bedtime while telling a story.  I did say creativity was called for!  Massage time can also be an opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem by saying positive things about them.

School-aged child: Up until the age of twelve, children's learning is primarily kinaesthetic - by touch.  So reinforcing praise with touch is the most effective way to convey it.  If your child has a hero then you may be able to offer the massage that (for example) David Beckham / the Little Mermaid has.  At this age, massage time may be a chance for your child to open up about their emotions and thoughts.


Simply do what you can, when you can and feel good about it!   Don't forget, if you're still massaging your child at school age then it won't be long until they start returning the favour!

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