Hugs, hand-holding, gentle touches, and pats on our backs as adults still convey us the warmth of love that sheds a positive light even when things go haywire. That is an indicator of the truth that no matter the age, we are all only human. Babies obviously yearn for those gestures despite being unable to speak, get those symbols of affection and care.
Every child's first exposure to the world occurs early through touch, right from the fetal stage. Physically touching a child is crucial to the child's overall growth over time – physically, emotionally, and in their aptitude, cognitive ability and otherwise. Through physical contact, babies bond with their parents and caretakers and establish a connection with their world. And to a large extent, they communicate their wants, needs, or satisfaction through touch.
The importance of touching babies can never be overemphasized. Research has proven that sick babies who were constantly being touched by their loved ones, caretakers, and toys showed a massive improvement in their health, and a quick improvement, compared to other sick babies who were scarcely touched. Also, children who are touched more show an increase in cognition and intellectual abilities within the first year of their life when compared to their mates who are touched limitedly. These "more-touched" babies exhibit more positivity and the right attitude to work and are less likely to be hostile, violent, pessimistic, and emotionally withdrawn adults.
Frequent bonding with babies physically releases the love hormone, oxytocin, and speeds up the development of the brain and the positive neuronal activities of the nervous system, enhancing babies' future emotional and social actions.
Additionally, the caretakers and parents of the child are not left out of the benefit of physical touches. Touching decreases depression, hostility, and violence in the parent as a strong connection is established with the child. Frequently touching babies reduces cortisol and stress in caretakers and parents, improving the defensive function of the immune system.
The power of touch for children also involves feeling and telling the textures and shapes of anything and everything to comprehend the world. This explains why babies quickly hold on tightly to whatever is around them.
Touching, for children, isn't just a plus. After all, they get exposed to the dangers or goodness of objects not by word of mouth but firstly by the feel of these objects on their skin. They can distinguish between fluffy, prickly, or sticky by touch, prompting them of innate desires, dislikes, and wants, which hastens their motor and communication coordination. It strengthens their motor skills by keeping them constantly active to grab, stack, gather, pour out, squeeze out, poke at, and push away properly. These help them develop the muscles used to carry out this act quickly and firmly, helping them grow impressive hand coordination at a younger age. Developed muscle activity strengthens grip, which accounts for the relatively firm grip of infants.
You can help your children learn through texture and the feel of objects with ease. Early in their life, you can introduce them to colourful books that teach texture. By touching the books and the colourful pictures in them, their fancy is tickled, hastening comprehension, vision development, and language acquisition.
Introducing babies to toys and the feel of different materials quickens their cognition. Colourful blankets and pillow sets, silky buntings and fluffy shawls, furry soft toys, clothes with bright sequins, and dimple plush fabrics are epic ways to introduce colours and activities into a child's life.
Activities and chores like feeling the texture of food, tree bark, and other materials help greatly inculcate motor activity in children. Although it can be messy (I must warn), the benefits of engaging them in physical activities like these are seen in a short time.
In touching infants and toddlers, care needs to be taken as a touch meant to elicit love can provoke an adverse reaction like crying in the children. However, creating a distance in situations like this does not help. Instead, gentle pats on the child's back, light massages, and strokes serve effectively in calming babies. Pairing textures and materials the child can play with encourage the child's development in every possible aspect.
We create elephant toys with plush dot minky fabric at the back of the ears to encourage tactile play. Plush blankets with the same material are also available. Explore our store to get all your baby needs and toys to hasten motor and intellectual skills. Acquire colours, comfort, and astuteness for your child.
What is your favourite tactile skill activity with your baby?