Is My Child Missing Important Tactile Experiences for Emotional and Social Development?
This article provides information on how tactile experiences can help your child’s learning development. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
You may have heard about the importance of sensory experiences and how important they for your child’s learning development. How your child uses each of their senses during playtime, mealtime and school time helps your child build cognitive skills, social skills, motor skills and much more.
As you engage your child in playtime activities, it’s important to encourage opportunities for your child to taste, touch, smell, visualize and hear different noises, feel different textures, smell different smells and see different sights. All of these exercises can help your child develop a sense of the world around them and builds a strong foundation for emotional, physical and cognitive development.
Each individual sense is important and directly impacts a key area of your child’s educational and academic growth as they excel in the classroom. Tactile experiences are by far one of the most important.
Why is tactile important for my child’s learning development?
Developing tactile experiences begins when your child is a baby and toddler. It’s important to provide your child with as many tactile activities as possible during the early ages.
Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development. Touch is not only imperative for short-term advancement with infancy and early childhood sensory experiences, but for long-term development within the child. Long-term effects of touch vary from educational results to social and emotional growth.
In a research study conducted by Robert Hatfield, Ph.D., Touch and Human Sexuality, he describes that affectionate, positive touch is associated with enhanced learning, language processing, improved problem solving and increased physical recovery speeds in children and adults.
Some children my experience tactile defensiveness, which means they can be too sensitive to different textures, temperatures and other tactile experiences. In these situations, children often react in behavioral outbursts or emotional meltdowns, which can interfere with the learning process.
Developing Your Child’s Tactile during the Early Years
Exposing your child and baby to tactile experiences during the early years can help your child’s emotional and social development flourish into adulthood. One easy way to accomplish this task is to use household items you already have with different textures and surfaces.
Take, for example, any throw pillows, blankets, carpet, rugs, towels and bedding you may already have in your home. Any number of these items can give your child the tactile experience they need to grow these skills. Providing your child with tactile experiences doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
Using Pillows and other Household Items for Tactile Growth
To enhance this child’s tactile experience, we used several throw pillows in her house to help her discover the textures of different materials.
Here are a few we provided:
Pillows with Stitching
Any pillows you may have with intricate stitching can help your child feel the bumps, grooves and indentations through their fingertips, which is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.
Pillows with ruffles, flowers, fur or other types of materials can encourage the use of fine motor skills, pincer grasp and hand manipulation for future handwriting development.
It also allows the child to fine tune those tactile skills when they feel the different types of textures. For example, silk is smooth, burlap is coarse, cotton is soft and mesh is bumpy.
Rugs, Bath Towels, Bedding
Any other household items you have can be used to help your child develop their tactile skills. Rugs, bath towels, bedding and other types of materials are usually easy to find in your home and are important items, no matter how insignificant for your child’s growth and development.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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