Does your child love to touch? Wiggle? Doodle? They may be kinesthetic!
I LOVE to touch different textures. I walk through the fabric store running my hands over all the lovely materials. Touching is one of our main senses. Hard, soft, feathery, silky, rough, cool. Children learn by touching.
Your child may be tactile learner. Tactile and kinesthetic children learn through the use of their bodies, experiencing the world through the sense of touch. By touching, they are committing the information to memory in a sensory way.
Kinesthetic children learn by doing rather than by watching. This engages their motor-memory because it uses their motor skills. They want to be active, not passive.
It is not reasonable to ask these children not to touch or scold them when they do because it cuts off their main source of learning about the world. These children are the wigglers and the doodlers when the teacher is talking. Doodling doesn’t mean they are not paying attention. It is a way of processing the information we hear through our bodies. Doodling and listening are not opposing forces.
So what can you do when your children want to touch? Let them!
- Be an advocate for your child and get the teacher on your child’s side. In school, I explained that my child couldn’t sit still. With the teacher’s OK, I gave her a squeeze ball to manipulate during class.
- Teach children to touch gently. When my children were small, they wanted to touch everything. Because I recognized the same tendency in myself, rather than stop them from touching, I taught them to touch gently. This may be against the grain of those who think children will break everything they touch.
- Children learn by watching you so they will imitate what you do. You can say, “Touch gently,” and show them how to do it. You could say, “Nice, nice,” while gently running your fingertips over the object.
- Keep one or two breakable items around your house that you might not mind getting (accidentally) broken. This teaches children how to behave in another person’s home when breakable items are around.
- Occasionally, I would find myself in a store with many breakables. I would say, “Keep your hands in your pockets, ” or “Keep your hands at your sides.” When my children saw an object they couldn’t resist, I would pick it up, hold it, and let them caress it.
So, no worries! Touching is good, it’s normal and it’s learning!
Angela Di Cicco