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According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Knowing the love languages of those around us can help us best care for each other.

If I were to put these five in order for how love is best communicated to me it would look like:

  1. Quality Time
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Words of Affirmation
  4. Receiving Gifts
  5. Physical Touch

But the thing is, physical touch is not the lowest on the list for my spouse or either of my children. And did I mention that I breastfed both kids for 14 months?

I may or may not have snapped, “stop touching me!” on more than one occasion. So how can we who get easily overwhelmed by too much physical contact, maintain our sanity without pushing our children away?

Remember the Importance of Touch

Physical touch has incredible benefits for humans – especially for babies and their new mamas. And I must say I loved being skin-to-skin with my babies immediately after birth. And 90% of the time I enjoyed the closeness of breastfeeding. When it got hard was when the baby was nursing, the preschooler was trying to climb into my lap while singing a song and my husband dared to rest his hand on my shoulder as we tried to make plans for the day. Oh my! Taking a deep breath and reminding myself of the benefits all this touching provides can help me in these moments of overwhelm.

Give Some Undivided Attention

I’ve found that starting the day off with lots of snuggling and undivided attention, fills my kids tanks up and keeps them from clinging to me all day long. When I sense they need some reconnection, we all do better if I try to meet these touching needs by intentionally stopping and focusing on them instead of multitasking.

Reduce Other Stimuli

I find I get overwhelmed by touch much more quickly if there are a ton of other things going on at the same time. So I try to savor snuggles without loud conversation and turn off whatever noise I can (i.e. music) if the kids are climbing all over me.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking time to decompress without the kids has been huge for me. It allows me to look forward to a head in the crook of my arm, hands and feet flying everywhere and the slow breathing of a child who relaxes into his mama, knowing he’d rather be nowhere else.

Are you sensitive to touch? How do you balance your needs with those of your children?

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