Rumination & Education
Massage for the Growing Child
When I teach baby massage I always say this is a skill for life. The strokes you learn in class are easily adaptable throughout your child’s life.
When your baby starts to roll, crawl and toddle then massage can become more challenging.
Create a space in your house, a quiet corner is enough where you can roll out a ‘special massage towel/mat’ and rub your ‘magic massage hands’ together, sing our massage song (there’s plenty on my Youtube channel) and have patience!
You don’t have to use oil either- dry massage (i.e. with clothes on) is a great way of continuing your positive energy and touch as your child gets older.
These pointers may help:
- At different stages of their life your child will respond to being massaged differently. Go with the flow and allow your child to lead you in the appropriate way.
- From the ages of 1-3 your child will be developing his/her autonomy & part of this is exercising her freedom to say ‘no’ so you must respect this choice. They will settle down again and start to enjoy the massage in a more ‘quiet’ way again.
- Always ask for your child’s permission. They may not ask directly for a massage so look & listen for signs e.g. ‘Mummy, my tummy hurts’ then you may offer a gentle tummy massage.
- Playing games and using your imagination is an important part of massage. You may want to tell a story as you are massaging, sing the names of body parts or maybe ask what parts of their body you are massaging.
- Concentrate on arms, shoulders and legs. These body parts are the most accessible and mobile in a growing child.
- Make positive comments as you massage e.g. ‘look at those lovely strong legs!’
- Don’t worry if you can’t manage the full massage routine. A backrub at bedtime or a foot and hand massage whilst they relax is simple and effective. Don’t make a big deal of giving a massage. The most important thing is to convey love, safety and respect.
- You may want to keep your child’s underwear on once they are out of nappies.
- Encourages massage swaps! Your little one will love to get involved and he will see it as a two way process and a little game, especially when they are easily distracted.
- During their school years your massage will change again. Use music, talk, stories, find out what their day has been like and this makes the experience feel special & give them a chance to talk about anything that’s bothering them. You may find a teenager is happier lying on their front rather than face up as this can feel too exposed. Leaving clothes on can make the massage feel less invasive but this is a personal choice. Get them to choose an essential oil for the massage.
- Keeping boundaries clear during adolescence shows respect. consciousness is high.