Sandy is fundraising for Children Change Colombia

Nurturing Hope: The Importance of Touch for Child Development

The bonding process is established during the first years of a child’s life, and is extremely important for their social and emotional development as it creates a strong connection with the main caregiver. This allows children to feel seen and understood, which builds their trust and helps them to regulate their emotions. 

Sandy at one of her baby massage workshops

A particularly effective way to strengthen the bonding process is through practising nurturing touch techniques, such as baby massage.

Sandy is a childhood development specialist and the Director of the Spanish speaking branch of Blossom and Berry. Her passion for baby massage and methods of implementing nurturing touch has inspired her to launch a fundraising campaign to help us support children in Colombia.

We sat down with Sandy to find out more about the importance of nurturing touch and her mission to teach love to caregivers and children across the world.  

Interview with Sandy

Q: Could you tell us more about baby massage and its benefits?

For babies and children, massage is taught by a qualified facilitator who models different nurturing touch techniques using a demo doll, which allows the main caregiver to replicate the techniques with his or her own child. It is done when the child is receptive to the interaction, and the child’s cues are always followed and respected. 

This is extremely important in the early years of a child’s life. Nurturing touch techniques stimulate many of the body’s systems, activate relaxation responses and nourish bones and muscles by boosting circulation. Massage can also relieve discomfort caused by colic and teething, help digestion, and strengthen the immune system, supporting overall healthy growth. 

However most importantly, nurturing touch communicates a sense of worth and of love and belonging to the child. 

Q: What inspired your passion in nurturing touch and baby massage?

Growing up in Mexico, a country characterised by vast social disparities, I have always been motivated to address inequalities and positively impact society. My work is driven by a vision where every child is nourished, nurtured, and respected. I first discovered the concept of baby massage when working in children’s centres in London over 10 years ago, and since then I have been fascinated by the science of touch and its power to strengthen connection. 

Q: How do you think this may be able to help children in Colombia?

Violence continues to indiscriminately affect children in Colombia. Data from a UNICEF report in 2023 showed that nearly 1,400 young people died violently, over 4,000 have suffered from domestic violence, and nearly 15,000 medical-legal examinations reported instances of sexual crimes. I believe that implementing nurturing approaches to parenting will allow children to overcome these violent experiences. 

The brain is very malleable, especially in the first years of life, so I believe more work is needed to reverse the effects of harmful childhood experiences – when children are exposed to loving and respectful environments, their brains can be rewired and healthier foundations can be built. Nurturing touch is essential for this as it allows us to communicate love and create stronger connections between children and their caregivers.

Parents who may have been victims of violence or are living in challenging circumstances may also face difficulties replicating loving and respectful ways to show affection to children, so with the support of a facilitator, they can find out more about the impact they have in their children’s brain and emotional development. 

Q: What do you hope can be achieved through your fundraising efforts?

Education is powerful. I want to help parents and caregivers discover the power of their loving touch to nurture their children and to help break intergenerational trauma. 

I believe this should be considered as vital to children’s development as food, shelter, and education, and through this fundraiser, I aim to help Children Change Colombia to acquire the necessary resources to provide specialist training, which will enable key community leaders in Colombia to teach nurturing touch techniques that will empower parents and carers to build stronger bonds with their children.

We are extremely grateful to Sandy for her support and for the impact she will make in spreading education about early childhood development to some marginalised communities in Colombian Caribbean. Please consider helping Sandy share her knowledge. 

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