Often the little things that are a part of our daily lives, the things we do without thinking about it or realizing it, can have the greatest impacts. The simple act of touch is one of those things. From day one and forever onward, touch is a very important factor in our lives and a way to connect with one another.
For adopted children, “good touch” goes a long way in forming the basic bonds of attachment. While close contact may not always have represented love and affection for your child, it is possible to establish healthy bonds through touch if implemented in the right way. Theraplay certified Cradle therapist Mandy Jones, LSCW, JD, offers four pieces of advice for finding a happy medium for your child.
- For children adopted as infants, lay the foundation for good touch in your relationship by snuggling and rocking your child to sleep. These are easy ways to establish a healthy bond of attachment through touch from a young age.
- For older children, or children with tough starts, ask permission if you can touch or approach them. This allows your child to learn their own body boundaries and what they are and aren’t comfortable with.
- Once your child forms these boundaries, respect them and don’t try to change them. Don’t force your child to give hugs as they leave family events; let them decide how they want to show affection and say goodbye.
- Instead of hugs and kisses, offer alternatives for these very personal forms of touch, such as a fist-bump or high five. Allow your child to decide how much or little physical contact they want to have with people they might not be very familiar with.