Healthy Compassionate Touch
Healthy compassionate touch is so important to our health and well being.
Touch is a basic vital need for babies and toddlers. From this young age they respond to touch that feels good to them by relaxing and softening their bodies.
The reverse is also true, they are able to communicate when touch does not feel good to them by recoiling or showing another sign of distress.
Touching a child where their boundaries are respected allows for a healthy “conversation” between the child and their care giver.
Unfortunately, it is all too often that babies and young children are not respected in regard to touch. Children instead learn to “put up with” or submit to touch that does not feel good. This begins the process of being educated out of this innate understanding we are born with around the language of touch.
I have loved sharing the compassionate touch program that the Upledger Institute created. When my children were younger I went into their classrooms a number of times to talk about Compassionate Touch and leave them a copy of Susan Cotta's book Compassionate Touch: I Can Show You I Care . Check out our video below of me talking to a Kindergarten class about compassionate touch in the hopes that you will bring it into your schools and homes. I think that it is an idea worth sharing!
One of the components of this program is teaching children how they can help each other through Compassionate Touch. This program was developed by the Upledger Foundation along with a book that was written by an Upldeger Instructor. The book is called “I can show you I care: Compassionate Touch for Children” written by Susan Cotta. A small research study was done in 1997 "Effect of Compassionate Touch on Preschool Children: A Pilot Study" by Russell Bourne in 1997 that demonstrated an increase in pro-social behaviors in the classroom, and therefore is an important component of any SEL curriculum.
I have worked with my friend, Scarlett Lewis, to create an extension program for the free Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Program created by the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement.
With this program we introduce the idea of Healthy Compassionate Touch in schools, teaching children to recognize touch that is nurturing and helpful and to know the kind of touch that isn’t. There are easy ways to talk about touch and have Healthy Compassionate Touch safely be a part of school life.