When my 3 year old daughter was 21 months old she moved out of her crib into a toddler bed in order for her 2 month old brother to have her crib. She transitioned well and one of the things this has allowed me to work in to her bedtime routine is nightly massages. After bath time, reading a Bible story, singing and praying, I would be kneeling down beside her bed and begin to massage her, starting from the tips of her toes and moving to the top of her head. I love massages and I figured she would also. These massages have become just one more way for me to show my daughter I love her. While pregnant, and since having children, I have read many times the benefits of massaging and I recently came across another article I wanted to share, so that other moms might be encouraged to incorporate this into their parenting toolbox of "I love you's." Here's what I learned from the article in Parents magazine (February 2012):
1. Infants who have their skin stroked regularly cry and fuss less than those who don't
2. Skin-to-skin contact lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol
3. The touch-induced release of the hormone melatonin causes better sleep
4. Improves immune system, motor skills, and intellectual development
5. Promotes healthy weight gain
I thought I would also add that I did massage my babies some when they were infants, but both of mine were active and did not want to lie still on their backs for long. My now 3 year old daughter loves this part of her night time routine and her brother will enjoy it soon when he makes the transition to the toddler bed.