The power of massages during early childhood
Slowly, offering children massages has become more and more popular and we have gained a better understanding of the benefits associated with different types of massage. Because of our fast-paced lifestyle, children have very few opportunities to stop and relax. I've written it before, but it's worth repeating: every tool we give children when they are young will be helpful once they reach school and beyond. Learning different massage techniques and integrating brief massage sessions among friends represent great methods to help children appreciate massages. Of course, massages can also become part of children's routine at home.
I read many articles on the subject and I must say that the benefits associated with regular massage sessions are far from negligible. A massage can:
- help children focus on their body;
- promote relaxation, calm, and rest;
- reduce stress and anxiety;
- promote sleep;
- develop children's kinesthetic learning;
- stimulate their sensory awareness;
- stimulate the release of endorphins, happy hormones linked to a sense of well-being.
In a group of very young children, you can place each child with a partner. Encourage them to take turns giving and receiving a massage. Both the children who are giving a massage and the ones on the receiving end will benefit from this activity. Massages also represent great socialization opportunities. Through their sense of touch, children learn to be respectful of others and to be gentle. Above all, they will enjoy the time they spend with a friend.
If you would like to add brief massage sessions to your daily schedule, here are a few guidelines:
- Plan massage sessions that last no more than 15-20 minutes. Divide this period equally so that each child can give and receive a massage.
- Children must always consent to receiving a massage. Some children may be more reluctant at first. Respecting them is important. When they are ready, they may accept and enjoy a short massage.
- An adult must act as a verbal guide and give children instructions throughout massage sessions.
- Create a calming and comfortable atmosphere. Turn the lights down, play soft music, and use a gentle voice to promote relaxation.
- Encourage children to pick a comfortable position. They can lie on their stomach, sit, or select a yoga position they enjoy.
- Provide clear instructions that encourage children to perform simple massages.
- Encourage children to use different types of movement (friction, patting, kneading, pressure, tapping, vibration, etc.). Invite children to identify and name their preferences.
- Ask children to thank the child who gave them a massage. This is a great way to foster gratitude.
A few ideas for inspiration:
Use different types of textured balls during massage sessions. Encourage children to roll the balls on their partner's body, from head to toe.
With their finger, children can draw a simple object on their partner's back. The child receiving the massage can try to guess what it is.
Encourage children to use their fingertips to gently brush or tickle their partner's body.
Many pairs of hands
Divide your group into teams of three children. Two children from each team massage the third child together. The child receiving the massage lies on his stomach.