Ya know? There’s an art to cuddling. I’m not just talking about pinching the cheek of an infant, giving them a big hug. That’s part of it, but not nearly all of it. Cuddling takes many forms, depending on the age of the cuddlee and your relationship to that person. Mastering the art of cuddling magnifies the quality of any of your relationships.
A cuddle is a physical interaction between cuddler and cuddlee, where the intent is to draw the cuddle emotionally closer to you. With your children, cuddling is in the category of playful parenting.
Daddy is coming in the front door and little Joey, age 5, sees him from the playroom. He bolts from his toys, runs full speed toward his father, and launches himself into daddy’s arms. Daddy grabs his gleeful son and spins him around, while laughing and telling how glad he is to see him. Cuddling.
Jim has put aside Saturday morning to start the process of crafting a treehouse with his 10-year-old son, Adam. The raw materials were delivered yesterday. Adam’s eyes widened as his dad asked him if he would be his helper on putting the treehouse together. After breakfast, they got to work. Cuddling.
Three-year-old Kaitlyn was ready to settle down and go to sleep. Her Papa read one of her favorite picture books to her as part of their bedtime routine. When it was time to settle down, Papa rubbed her back lightly as he sang a lullaby to her. She was asleep before he finished. Cuddling.
Mason was showing off his new learner’s permit he and his dad had just picked up from the DMV. His friends were jealous, as they had not yet turned 15. Mason’s eyes lit up when his dad asked if he wanted to take the car for a spin. He then spent a half hour each day after work for two weeks giving him practice driving. Cuddling.
Jason and Elise were watching television one night when he got up and went to sit on his footrest close to her footrest. He reached over and began massaging her feet slowly and gently while they continued watching tv. Cuddling.
Make time with each of your children each day to be playful and to cuddle them. To do so, enter their world. Let them initiate. Be open and willing to try most anything. You might find yourself sitting in a living room fort made of pillows and blankets reading spooky stories. You might find yourself made up by your little girl who wanted to try mommy’s cosmetics. Whatever is harmless and engaging is on the table. It includes fun family activities, but also split up the kids so that each of you has some one-on-one time with each kid at some point each week.
Cuddle time and playful parenting is what your kids will remember for a lifetime. Blessings, Dr. Jon