Most of us know the magic of cuddle time, but did you know that there’s a handy cuddle aid that further enchants and calms children?
Some of you are familiar with the rebozo, a traditional woven cloth from Mexico often used in the U.S. natural birthing community. Women and their doulas use the long cloth to help make pregnancy and birth more comfortable. Babies are worn in rebozos.
What you don’t know is that the rebozo is equally great at facilitating cuddle time, bonding, and juvenile tranquility! There’s even an ebook about using a rebozo with children, written by the well-known doula Gena Kirby.
The Importance of Touch
All humans need human touch, and children need it even more. Note how they resort to climbing on your head when you are otherwise occupied well into their teens.
Using a rebozo on your children activates more touch receptors than you can with hands alone. All the gentle pressure sends calming, loving messages to the brain.
For children (and adults!) who are especially sensitive, affected a great deal by the emotions of others or their environment, the rebozo facilitates grounding. A child feels more present and safe in her body when touch receptors are activated in a loving way.
Parents of special needs children, especially those with ADD or autism spectrum diagnoses, have found deep pressure therapy helps settle their children. The rebozo can be used to do that.
Related: Cuddling is good for babies
Your Own Rebozo
You can invest in a beautiful, fairly traded rebozo that will bring peace, comfort, and cuddles to your family forever. Or you can use whatever you have to get started. A strong pashmina works in most cases, or any hefty scarf. Even a crib sheet in a pinch.
Like all aspects of parenting, you have to find what works for your individual children. Try some of these:
Make a Tent
When your child needs to talk, or you want to talk seriously and lovingly, use the rebozo as a tent. Drape it over both your heads to make a private space. In this space, you can focus only on each other. Tent conversations are more calm and positive than similar conversations in open air.
Give a Hug
Wrap the rebozo around your child’s back and shoulders and hold the ends in your hands. Pull the ends so that your child is enveloped in a giant hug.
Do a Rolling Massage
Have your child lay down and thread the rebozo under his back so that you are standing over him holding the ends. Pull up gently and rock his body softly back and forth. Try doing it on different parts of the body.
Fold the rebozo and wrap it around your child’s forehead, eyes, and ears. Hold it at the back of her head. Keep a hand on her at all times while she is blindfolded. This is a good time for a back massage or telling stories that help her get into her imagination.
A real rebozo has fringe on the end. With your child laying down in a comfortable position, dance the fringe across his body from head to toe. Lift, and repeat, starting again at the head.
There are many other techniques you can try. Check out Gena’s book for more details. You don’t need special skills. Just spending one-on-one time with your child and coming up with your own uses for the rebozo will work its own magic.
Photo Credit: Marysol via Flickr