FEELING WELL

MAGNIFICENTCHILDREN.LOVE

 

GROW YOUR MAGNIFICENT CHILD

 

 

CHAPTER 15

 

 

LEVEL 3. 

 

FEELING WELL. Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.

 

 

 

Baby’s OMSDEP: Her sense of touch and tactile intentions:

 

  • To further develop her natural ability to feel the difference between hot, warm, cool and cold. 

 

  • To further develop her ability to feel the difference between rough, smooth, soft, hard, sticky, wet, oily, pitted surfaces and others.

 

At Level 2 baby’s tactile OMSDEP was directed towards feeling the difference between hot and cold and smooth and rough surfaces. At this Level 3 her OMSDEP is to further improve her sense of touch when feeling less distinct variations such as cool, warm, soft and hard.

 

 

Cuddles.

 

One of the joys for parents and babies at this Level is that baby should now become a keen and natural ‘cuddler’. She becomes a keen cuddler at this Level because she now has a sufficiently well developed sense of touch and awareness of her environment to enjoy the feelings generated by a loving natural cuddle. When she is cuddled at this Level her sense of touch is further developed, so cuddles are not only enjoyable for parents and child at this Level; they also have added developmental value.

 

At this Level 3, cuddle baby whenever the opportunity arises. If you wish you can set a target of, say, one one-minute cuddle every fifteen minutes. But be sure to also give baby plenty of time on the floor for her mobility and other activities. It is best if baby is wearing a minimum of clothing when she is cuddled, so she can clearly feel your body temperature, skin and clothing texture on her skin.

Friendly Wrestling:

 

Friendly wrestles with baby each day provide her with a wide range of spontaneous tactile (touch-feeling) experiences. When wrestled she will be held tightly and loosely, have pressure applied to various parts of her body, feel her limbs and her head moving in various ways and in various directions, and she will experience other tactile sensations. A friendly wrestle on a bed, floor or grass is not only enjoyable for parent and child but provides more spontaneously varying tactile experiences than most activities. Two wrestles for about two minutes each is a minimum for this activity each day. If you and baby enjoy wrestling then ten wrestles of about two minutes each spread throughout the day is not excessive, and is certainly beneficial for a healthy baby. Obviously wrestling must be fun and not hurt baby. 

 

The tactile sense (touch-feeling) is essential to crawl, creep, walk and run. 

 

Baby should continue to enjoy her daily massages and, by continuing with them, you will continue to develop her sense of touch as well as the natural bond between her and yourself.

 

By developing her ability to feel by touch you are providing her with an excellent natural sense she can use when she crawls, creeps and eventually walks and runs.  

 

After being a crawler baby progresses to being a creeper and she will use the tactile (touch feeling) information from her hands, knees and feet to move her body left, right, forward or backwards so she is balanced and does not topple over. Briefly, what she does is that she compares the tactile (touch feeling) information being received by her hands, knees and feet while she is creeping, with information being supplied by her eyes and with other previously learnt balance information in her brain. She then concludes in what position she should hold her hands, knees and feet to remain upright and to start creeping forward. 

 

When she becomes a walker almost all the tactile (touch feeling) information required to keep her upright is provided by her feet, particularly the soles. (Additionally, whenever she is mobile, tactile proprioception also helps her to know that her limbs and body weight are distributed in a balanced way around her centre of balance). When she begins running her feet must gather tactile (touch feeling) information at a much faster rate and it must be quickly compared with her sense of balance, proprioception and vision so her legs and the running surface can be properly coordinated. 

 

The importance of having a fine sense of touch is obvious when we consider that, to learn to be mobile, baby starts out in the world lying flat and face down. Then, as her sense of touch is naturally developed, she ascends from crawling up onto her hands and knees into the position called creeping. Then, several months later she walks, and then months later she runs. Without a sense of touch it is highly unlikely baby would ever become mobile; even as a crawler. With an excellent sense of touch baby can become a magnificent crawler, creeper, walker, runner, dancer and gymnast.

 

Developing Finer Temperature and Texture Abilities.

 

At this level baby is refining her sense of touch.  She is developing the ability to feel more variations in temperature between hot and cold by extending her ability from knowing hot and cold to also knowing the finer temperature differences between hot, warm, cool and cold. Similarly, she is developing her ability to feel more variations in texture, by extending her ability from knowing rough and smooth to being able to feel textures such as soft, hard, smooth, sticky, wet, oily and pitted surfaces.

 

 

Helping Baby To Naturally Develop The Ability To Feel Finer Temperature Variations. 

 

Touch for temperature development.

 

At this level of development baby’s OMSDEP is to further develop her natural ability to feel temperature differences so that she can clearly distinguish temperature differences between hot, warm, cool, and cold. This does not simply mean that baby learns what those words sound like and has some idea that two can be particularly dangerous (hot and cold): although she will need to do that. Importantly she will need environmental experiences that will foster the brain growth (that is, development) that will allow her to clearly feel the temperature differences between hot, warm, cool and cold.

 

Imagine for a moment that there is a child who cannot feel hot or cold. If such a child put her finger into hot boiling water it would feel the same to her as if she put her finger into cold water! She might learn to tell the difference between hot and cold water from their appearance; one which is calm and one with bubbles and steam, but she would not feel the difference. This fact explains why some children burn themselves in ignorance (and, unfortunately, some parents condemn the children for stupidity). Unfortunately for them, some children can’t very well tell the difference between hot or cold because their sense of temperature-touch is underdeveloped. In actuality such children are usually able to feel the difference to some extent between hot and cold but to a lesser degree than average. Another reason why many children burn themselves is their natural scientific interest in wanting to experience what hot and cold mean. It is very difficult for a child to understand what hot and cold mean if we simply tell them about the words and experience and they never have the experience. It is almost as difficult to explain to a child what hot and cold mean as it is to explain to the child what a peanut tastes like and what fried eggplant tastes like. The solution to both problems is experience. The experience of tasting the food and the experience of feeling hot and cold. If they experience what hot and cold mean, in a safe way, then most children will carefully avoid being burnt (or frozen). That is one of the reasons why the Level 2 activities included safely exposing baby to hot and cold temperatures.

 

How baby can further develop her ability to feel the difference between hot, warm, cool and cold.

 

To help baby further develop the ability to feel the difference between hot, warm, cool and cold parents do as follows:

 

Repeat the process for helping to develop baby’s ability to feel hot and cold as described in the preceding Level 2 with one exception: Soon the hot and cold activities need only be carried out once each day instead of three times as baby has, by now, reached a higher level of tactile development. (The Level 2 activity is repeated below and is adjusted from three times daily to once daily):

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel heat proceed as follows: 

 

It is best if baby is wearing only a nappy (or nothing at all) during this activity so she can feel the heat over much of her body. 

 

Three times each day for five days while baby is awake hold her safely near a source of heat for three to five seconds as described above (in Level 2) and say “This is hot.” Then do it once each day until she completes this Level.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel cold proceed as follows: 

 

While baby is awake place an ice cube into her right hand for three seconds and say, “This is cold.” Then repeat the procedure in her left hand. Then repeat the procedure but touch another part of two of her limbs, for example, one foot and one upper arm. During hot weather in particular baby might enjoy this game. Avoid leaving the ice on baby for more than three seconds so as to keep the experience pleasant and not to allow it to become unpleasant.

 

Follow the procedure to help baby to develop her ability to feel cold three times each day for five days then do it once each day until she completes this Level.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel ‘cool’ proceed as follows: 

 

Put baby’s hands under a running tap or into a bucket, sink or other container filled with cool water and say, “This is cool water.” Do this three times each day until she completes this Level.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel ‘warm’ proceed as follows: 

 

Put baby’s hands under a running tap or into a bucket, sink or other container filled with warm water and say, “This is warm water.” Do this three times each day until she completes this Level.

 

Using running taps is usually the simplest way to do this activity but, if you have the equipment to create a warm or cool water vapour mist, those mists can be used instead of running taps, a sink, buckets of water or swimming in a pool, ocean or creek. Equipment such as a perfume or cologne atomiser or unpolluted horticultural misting equipment can be used to make mists. 

 

Children will usually enjoy some water-play after they have placed their hands in the cool or warm water. You could, for example, wash them with it or help them to float objects in it. Keep in mind that young children (even those who can swim underwater) can drown very quickly in a bucket if left unsupervised.

 

It can be difficult to tell by observing baby how well she feels the difference between hot, warm, cool, and cold temperatures. But she might at some time demonstrate to you that she does feel these different temperatures. She might, for example, put her hand quickly into the cold water and then put it into the warm water for longer if you ask her to feel how warm the warm water is. Avoid asking her ‘test’ questions though, as children are very likely to become indignant and deliberately give incorrect answers if they think they are being tested. 

 

By teaching baby about temperature you probably very significantly reduce the likelihood that she will ever accidentally burn or scald herself.

 

 

 

Helping Baby To Develop The Ability To Feel Finer Texture Variations. 

 

Baby is developing her ability to feel more variations in texture, by extending her ability from knowing rough and smooth to being able to feel textures such as soft, hard, smooth, sticky, wet, oily and pitted surfaces.

 

To help baby develop the ability to feel more variations in texture firstly repeat the process for teaching her about rough and smooth in the preceding Level 2.  The Level 2 activity is repeated below:

 

Developing the ability to feel texture.

 

Put baby’s hand on some rough, but not sharp, sandpaper (or any similarly rough surface) and very gently pull it across the paper one or two centimetres so as to allow her to feel the rough surface but not to hurt her skin. To give her language as well as touch information about what she is feeling say to baby, “This is a rough surface.” Then gently pull baby’s hand across the surface and make the statement again, “This is a rough surface.” Repeat the process with baby’s other hand and with the soles of her feet. Do this three times a day for 5 days. Then do it once each day until she completes this Level.

 

Immediately after giving baby a rough surface touch sensation give her a smooth surface touch sensation using a piece of polished steel, a piece of satin or velvet, or some other smooth item. Use the same procedure as described above for a rough surface but this time say, “This is a smooth surface.”

 

 

 

A variety of touch sensations. 

 

Make a wide variety of touch sensations available to baby every day and tell her what those sensations are. Kitchens and bathrooms are often good sources of items that provide a variety of touch sensations.

 

Once each day help baby to touch food, clothing, towels, building materials, plants, flowers, trees or any of the other hundreds of different touchable objects in the home, forest or back yard.  Take baby on a daily ‘touch walk’ to each of those objects in that environment and allow her to touch them and tell her what type of sensation it is. For example, rough, soft, hard, smooth, sticky, wet, oily and pitted sensations.

 

Always bring baby’s attention to matters of temperature such as the air, cooking or bathing temperature. Feel items like hand-rails warmed by sunlight or cool areas out of the sun and help baby to feel them and say: “This is cool”, or “This is hot”. 

 

Keep in mind that, from baby’s point of view, you are creating an everyday Children’s Science Centre and Fun Park in her home.

 

You may find that you have some of the resources readily available to do these activities with baby. For example, if you are going to apply baby oil or a nappy rash preventative you can simply apply some to her hands and feet and tell her the touch sensation is oily and wet.  To allow her to feel ‘soft’ you can use a piece of satin, a soft towel or a soft toy. For ‘sticky’ you can use some wet potters clay, honey, tree sap or a flour and water mix.  ‘Hard’ a small stone or a stainless steel spoon. ‘Pitted’ some sea sponge or a manufactured kitchen cleaning sponge.  For ‘smooth’ you might take baby to your laminated kitchen bench surface, if you have one, three times each day, draw each foot and each hand across it in turn and as you do so say, “This is a smooth surface.” This is fun for baby and yourself; it develops her sense of touch, and she is learning language.  

 

When you are finished and baby has felt eight or more different surface textures do the whole cycle again.

 

 

Activities for parents and babies:

 

  1. Cuddles:

 

At this Level 3, cuddle baby whenever the opportunity arises. If you wish you can set a target of one one-minute cuddle every fifteen minutes. It is best if baby is wearing a minimum of clothing when she is cuddled so she can easily feel your body temperature and skin texture. Of course, cuddling is good for parents and baby at any Level, but at this Level it has additional developmental benefits.

 

  1. Massage:

 

Continue to massage baby every day as stated in Level 1.

 

  1. Friendly Wrestling:

 

Two wrestles for about two minutes each is a minimum for this activity each day. If you and baby enjoy wrestling then ten wrestles of about two minutes each spread throughout the day is not excessive, and is certainly beneficial for a healthy baby. Obviously wrestling must be fun and not hurt baby. 

 

  1. Helping Baby To Further Develop Her Ability To Feel The Difference Between Hot, Warm, Cool And Cold.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel heat proceed as follows: 

 

It is best if baby is wearing only a nappy (or nothing at all) during this activity so she can feel the heat over much of her body. 

 

Three times each day for five days while baby is awake hold her safely near a source of heat for three to five seconds as described in Level 2 and say “This is hot.” Then do it once each day until she completes this Level.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel cold proceed as follows: 

 

While baby is awake place an ice cube into her right hand for three seconds and say, “This is cold.” Then repeat the procedure in her left hand. Then repeat the procedure but touch another part of two of her limbs, for example, one foot and one upper arm. During hot weather in particular baby might enjoy this game. Avoid leaving the ice on baby for more than three seconds so as to keep the experience pleasant and not to allow it to become unpleasant.

 

Follow the procedure to help baby to further develop her ability to feel cold three times each day for five days then do it once each day until she completes this Level.

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel ‘cool’ proceed as follows: 

 

Put baby’s hands under a running tap or into a bucket, sink or other container filled with cool water and say, “This is cool water.” Do this three times each day until she completes this Level. This activity can also be conducted by placing baby into a cool swimming pool, creek, bath or similar environment. 

 

To help baby to further develop her ability to feel ‘warm’ proceed as follows: 

 

Put baby’s hands under a running tap or into a bucket, sink or other container filled with warm water and say, “This is warm water.” Do this three times each day until she completes this Level. This activity can also be conducted by placing baby into a warm swimming pool, spring, bath or similar environment.

 

 

  1. Developing the ability to feel texture.

 

To help baby develop the ability to feel more variations in texture firstly repeat the process for teaching her about rough and smooth in the preceding Level 2.  

 

The Level 2 activity is repeated below.

 

Put baby’s hand on some rough, but not sharp, sandpaper (or any similarly rough surface) and very gently pull it across the paper one or two centimetres so as to allow her to feel the rough surface but not to hurt her skin. To give her language as well as touch information about what she is feeling say to baby, “This is a rough surface.” Then gently pull baby’s hand across the surface and make the statement again, “This is a rough surface.” Repeat the process with baby’s other hand and with the soles of her feet. Do this three times a day for 5 days.

 

Immediately after giving baby a rough surface touch sensation give her a smooth touch sensation using a piece of polished steel, a piece of satin cloth or some other smooth item. Use the same procedure as described above for a rough surface but this time say, “This is a smooth surface.”

 

  1. Daily ‘Touch Walk’:

 

Take baby on a daily ‘touch walk’ as described above. Help her to touch many objects and tell her what type of sensation she is feeling. For example, cold and wet, or dry and prickly. 

 

  1. A variety of touch sensations. 

 

Whenever you can, help baby to touch food, clothing, towels, building materials, plants, flowers, trees or any of the other hundreds of different touch sensations in the home, forest or back yard.  Take baby to each of those objects in that environment, help her to touch them and tell her what type of touch sensation it is. For example, rough, smooth, wet, sticky, (and perhaps hot or cold).

 

 

What baby should be doing at this Level of development:

 

  1. Because she now has a sense of touch with which she can enjoy close loving touch baby will now seek to be cuddled and hugged and she will clearly enjoy being massaged. 

 

  1. By her expressions and behaviour baby will demonstrate that she enjoys comfort and doesn’t enjoy discomfort. For example, baby will ‘make a fuss’ if she has a wet nappy.

 

  1. Baby should know the difference between warm and cool. She will likely demonstrate this by ‘making a fuss’ if she feels too warm or too cool.

 

What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:

 

  • Baby will be able to pick up a coin or similarly shaped object that is laying on a flat surface.

 

As she comes to the end of this Level of development baby should be well developed in feeling and knowing sensations such as soft, hard, warm and cool. The development of her natural ability to touch now becomes focused more on her hands and fingers. (The magnificentchildren.love mobility activities provide additional tactile stimulation for her feet). At this time you will usually notice that baby begins playing with objects such as buttons on her clothing and pages in books or magazines. Her sense of touch will now be feeling that the depth in some objects, such as buttons, can be felt. This means that she will, for example, feel that a button has thickness. The technical expression for this is that baby can now feel that objects have three dimensions, that is width, length and thickness. Baby will now begin to use a full hand grasp less and less often and more and more often she will begin using her fingers to pick up objects. Baby will demonstrate her new level of development by picking up a coin or similarly shaped object that is laying on a flat surface.

 

It is very likely that when baby moves on to Level 4 of “BABY’S HANDS: USEFUL EVERY DAY FOR A LIFETIME: Baby’s hand use and manual development” she will also be ready to move on to Level 4 of “FEELING WELL: Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.”

When baby can achieve the above she is ready to graduate to the next Level, Feeling Well Level 4. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 4.

 

 

An average child is likely to move on to Level 4 at approximately age 12 months.

 

A Natural Parenting child could potentially move on to Level 4 at approximately age 6 months.

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