The Importance of contact with your kids
Benefits of Touch
Touch is a fundamental human need, and it is the first of our senses to develop as a child. The importance of skin-to-skin contact after birth is well-documented, as it promotes a deeper connection between parent and baby, helps with healing, and regulates body temperature, breathing, and heart rate in newborns.
In addition to physical benefits, touch, affection, and a sense of closeness can have a significant impact on your child’s well-being by increasing the level of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine (the “happiness hormone”) and oxytocin (the hormone involved in human bonding).
How to get more contact with your child
While every child is unique and may prefer different levels of physical contact, there are ways to increase the amount of contact you have with your child to foster a sense of closeness. Here are a few tips:
- Incorporate fun contact during bath or bedtime, such as tickling or cuddling.
- Hold hands with your child when going for walks or leaving the house.
- Cuddle together on the sofa while watching TV or a film.
- Comfort your child with touches like rubbing their back or stroking their hair.
- Cuddle or put your arm around your child while doing an activity together, such as reading a book or drawing.
In addition to physical contact, emotional contact is equally crucial. Having honest face-to-face conversations is an excellent way to connect with your child and build trust. Games like Sussed? can help encourage conversations about likes, dislikes, reactions, and opinions that you may not have had before. This helps you share new things with each other and teaches your child empathy and self-awareness.
Another resource that can help parents is the My First Emotions Box. It provides guidance based on six essential parenting skills, along with a range of multi-sensory tools and activity ideas to guide your child’s emotional development. Learning to manage feelings together helps strengthen your bond and establish healthy boundaries, which equips you with the tools to deal with future scenarios.
While hugging is a lovely way to express a close bond with your child, physical touch is not the only way to maintain close contact. Communicating openly, sharing new things, and being emotionally present are essential for establishing a strong bond between you and your child, which can have lasting positive effects on their overall well-being.