Be Intentional with Touch


When my husband’s keys turn in the lock, both of my girls stop whatever they are doing and fly to the front door.  As he walks through the door, he is bombarded with kisses and nearly knocked down with hugs.  Sometimes I join the girls, and for a few seconds we indulge in a great big “family hug” right there in the entryway.  You would think it had been weeks and weeks since they had last seen their daddy and not just the few short hours since he had been home at lunch.

There has been much research done on the healing, restorative, reconnecting power of touch.  You don’t have to be a developmental expert, however, to know that children – indeed, all humans – respond so positively to a timely, safe touch from another person.  As parents and caregivers, we have the opportunity to minister to the children we love and care for with loving touches many times throughout the day.

Many little ones like to have some snuggle time upon waking in the morning; it seems to ease the transition from dreamland to play time.  We hold hands with our children as we cross the street pull them close to soothe a hurt.  Little babies might enjoy the calming touches of infant massage at the end of a busy day of engaging in the world around them, and older children can unwind and prepare for sleep as a trusted person in their life rubs their back while they doze off to sleep.

With so many interactions throughout the day that involve touch, it is easy for us as parents and caregivers to take for granted how important and meaningful this simple act can be.  How can we be more intentional?  As with all things mindful, the key is to slow down and appreciate.

* When you take a moment for morning snuggles, reflect internally and express outwardly how much you love the child you are snuggling and express your anticipation for the day ahead.

* When that little one runs to you seeking comfort from a hurt, take a minute to appreciate the days when a kiss where it hurts and a quick hug are enough to make the world right again.  There is fast approaching a day when the tender touch of a loved one won’t ease the hurts of life quite as easily as they do now.

* When you are gently buckling a child into his car seat or you reach down to take his hand to cross a busy parking lot or city street, allow your heart to offer a thought of humble gratitude for the responsibility that has been entrusted to you.

* When the day is winding down and you are engaging in a time of massage with your infant or you are tucking  your older child into bed, reflect on the day’s adventures through your child’s eyes.  Consider the people, places, and things she encountered that day and whisper thankful thoughts for the treasure of another day that was gifted to each of you, child and adult, to share together.

These are just a few ideas – there are so many ways to connect mindfulness to the power of touch.  Again, the key is remembering to pause in the midst activity around you to be fully engaged in the moment, even if that moment is just five seconds.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  Don’t let the moments of snuggly warm bodies fresh from rest and sticky fingers holding tight to your hand and squirmy, tickly hugs at the end of the day pass you by!

More reading on the power of touch:

Photo by Ignacio Guerra

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  1. Megan,
    What a beautiful post! I was so touched after reading your article on bathtime meditations and again with this post about intentional touch I am amazed at just how different my days go when I heed your advice. It is as if I begin to keep an inner prayer dialogue going as I offer thanksgiving and intentions for the blessings happening all through my days (and especially for the amazing gift of those in my life and my role with them) — and out of that inner dialogue my outer interactions, words, attitude, experiences are all changed and enriched.
    Been meaning to stop by and leave a huge WELCOME to you for your new role at Simple Kids…I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us, already you are a gift!!
    Lisa (the Simple Mom Health Columnist)

    Lisa’s last blog post..A Day of Rest

    • @Lisa, oh! Thank you for those kind words!! I’m so glad these thoughts have meant something in your life. Believe me, it’s a constant process for me to concentrate on being intentional, too. Much of what I write, I am saying to myself first and foremost!

      Megan’s last blog post..Be Intentional with Touch

  2. What a wonderful reminder of all the opportunities we have throughout the day to enjoy our little ones and this fleeting time in their lives when they want nothing more than to touch us and be touched. I have a habit of kissing my children on the nose and forehead after I’ve buckled them into their car seats. It feels particulary good to do this on those days when it’s a struggle to get them into their seats.

    katydid6’s last blog post..Thanks For The Help

  3. Oh, we always raced to the door to greet daddy too. My sister and I would sit on his feet and he would walk from the door to the kitchen with us there to kiss mom. My brother was the baby (even when he got bigger) so he rode on daddy’s shoulders. These things are so important in building strong families!

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling’s last blog post..Free Diaper Sample ($2 Shipping)

  4. When my second oldest was in the first and second grade he would come and climb in bed and cuddle with me for 15 or 20 minutes every morning. I once confided in him that that was my favorite part of my day. He’s 15 now and mentioned a few months ago that he hoped I’d remember to tell his baby sister and brother someday that they were my favorite part of the day too. It always amazes me when I’ve done or said something by accident that turned out so well. Imagine what I’d have accomplished if I’d been intentional. On the other hand, maybe it’s just completely opening our hearts and articulating it to our little ones that always works out. (No, his brother wasn’t left out, we had a different ritual of cuddling on the couch and talking, front porch in summer, living room in winter, that we still continue. Not as often now that he’s 17, but when he needs his mommy and to talk, he still knows where I am. Odd, now that he’s 4 inches taller than I am and I’m the one cuddled up under his arm, but still very, very good.)

    • @Janine, Oh my goodness – this is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for sharing the perspective of from a mama a little bit further down the parenting road than I am. So touching.

  5. Just this morning my husband and I were snuggling in bed with our daughter and 4-year old son. My arm was reaching over my daughter and my hand was resting on my son. My daughter said, “Why is Mommy’s hand on you? And my son said, “Because she loves me.” Love their little budding perceptions of love.


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