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  • At this stage, your tot’s favorite word is “no,” thus, a parent’s offer of a massage may be refused. Calagui advises moms and dads to read their child’s body language carefully. “Along with his negativity, he might actually extend an arm or a leg, which means he actually likes to be massaged at that moment,” says Calagui. “But if indeed his answer is a resounding ‘no,’ respect his choice.”

    Calagui says that kids sometimes ask for a massage indirectly. “Your son may suddenly sit beside you, gently massaging his arm by himself, or he may complain that his tummy or leg hurts. You can then offer to massage him,” notes Calagui.

    Because this is a stage when a child’s imagination is at its peak, parents can incorporate storytelling with the massage session. “Pretend there are animals walking or hopping on his tummy,” says Calagui. And because his limbs are longer, Calagui recommends that the massage strokes be done on separate areas of each limb.

    Kath Calagui, certified infant massage instructor

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