Massage your Baby

Massage and the growing child

The classes taught by IAIM Certified Infant Massage Instructors are designed for families with babies under one-year-old. Your certified instructor/educator will share some ways to adjust the massage for your growing baby in a way that will keep them interested.

“As my children grew up, I looked for those quiet moments when they really appreciated a massage. Sometimes it was when we all snuggled up in bed. Sometimes it was when I was visiting with a friend and a child found my lap was free and crawled in for a rubdown. Or after a bath. Or when they were sick. My youngest, who is now 19, still likes me to give her a massage. And sometimes she gives me one, too.”

A mother from United States

The Active Baby

When a child learns to roll over, you may find that they become more challenging to massage. Their personal goal has suddenly become to be mobile, and that is what they care about most.

Tips for massaging your active baby:

  • Keep a few special toys just for massage, and pull them out to encourage your baby to be still a bit longer.
  • Sing your baby a song as you massage, or attach a few simple nursery rhymes to parts of the body. Your baby will love repetition, and the sing-song quality of your voice.
  • When a child begins to crawl, you may need to simply massage what is easy to reach.
  • Make the massage more fun by pulling your baby gently and playfully back to you, and using music and nursery rhymes.
  • Look for your toddler’s most quiet and receptive time of day for the massage, such as after a bath, right before bed, or after a long day at childcare.
  • Give them choices such as “Where shall I start the massage?”


Teenagers vary from liking touch to wanting to be left alone, and this may change from moment to moment.

Tips for massaging your teenager:

  • Look for times when they are open to touch – sick, tired, emotional or affectionate, and offer to rub their shoulders or their feet.
  • Perhaps they complain of growing pains or cramps, and are really asking for a little affection – beautifully expressed in a massage.
  • If they refuse a massage, don’t take it personally, or consider it permanent. Tomorrow they may feel different.

School Age Children

School-age children experience a lot of stress, and massage can help them think more clearly in class, relax during tests, etc.

Tips for massaging your school age child:

  • Often the older child will begin to talk during massage and tell you about their day and their fears and worries. Be a good listener as you give them a massage.
  • Be mindful that they may want to massage you too, so let them!
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Preschoolers often need imaginative stories or songs to keep them receptive to massage.

Tips for massaging your preschooler:

  • You may need to do shorter strokes on the legs and arms, or position the child differently to do the massage.
  • They may like it if the massage is connected with certain sports (“soccer player special”) or activities (“ballet dancer massage”) that encourage their imagination.
  • Be aware and supportive of your child’s developing modesty, leaving underwear or clothes on when requested.

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