'Lullaby Massage' Could Help Parents Calm Their Squirming Toddlers

A new book that marries the soothing qualities of lullaby and massage provides a sequence of massage techniques set to poetry intended to relax young children and ready them for bed.

Written by Cory Chandler

The book, written by child development researcher Sybil Hart, teaches 12 techniques to calm children before bed.

It’s like spa treatment … for 2-year-olds.

A new book that marries the soothing qualities of lullaby and massage could help parents calm their squirming toddlers and remedy much of the fuss and futility of bedtime.

"Lullaby Massage: Rhyme & Touch Massage for Infants and Children," by Texas Tech child development researcher Sybil Hart, provides a sequence of massage techniques set to poetry intended to relax young children and ready them for bed.

The 12 techniques developed by Hart target specific parts of the body, including the feet, hands and shoulders.

Movements mimic activities such as painting or answering a telephone call and the corresponding lyrics act as instructions for parents while keeping children engaged in the process long enough to receive the massage.

Research has shown that massages can help ease pain and anxiety in children and improve their cognitive performance – the trick is coaxing a bundle of restless feet and fleeting attention into sitting still long enough to receive one.

"How do you sit an active, rambunctious 2-year-old down and give them a massage?" asked Hart, a professor of human development and family studies. "Children are the people on earth who need massages most and they often get them the least, they'll sit still."

Hart is author of "Handbook of Jealousy: Theory, Research, and Multidisciplinary Approaches." Her infant research has been featured in Newsweek magazine and on the TODAY show.

"Lullaby Massage" is published by Hale Publishing. It is available here.

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Sybil Hart explains why and how her new book "Lullaby Massage: Rhyme & Touch Massage for Infants and Children" helps children fall asleep.

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"Baby Massage" photo courtesy Valentina Powers.

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