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By: Mary Jo Oresti, MA
This activity is a wonderful way for the parent and child to spend time together. It is especially useful for children who are sensitive to touch or do not have a sense of their boundaries. They are often helped by firm, not light, pressure or massage. The basic idea has origins in the  work of Jean Ayers and has been augmented by teachers and parents.  This activity is very calming and works well when combined with a night time ritual that includes lighting a candle, telling a story, and having a foot or back massage with a calming oil.

The child lays face up on one edge of a blanket with her head not on the blanket. Gently roll the child over, pulling the blanket with her so that she is face down and firmly stroke and press along the child’s wrapped body. Use your whole hand , not the finger tips.  Begin at the head and move toward the feet. Press the sides, back  legs and feet.
Roll the child again so that she is face up and stroke along the sides and include the feet.
Continue rolling and pressing.  Say the first two verses of the poem as you do so.

One variation is to “make a roll-up sandwich.” After each roll the child makes a suggestion as to what they want in the sandwich. You can then build the sandwich as you press and stroke firmly. Put on a new sandwich ingredient with each roll.

The child may remain wrapped for awhile. When ready,  unroll the child slowly or have them unroll themselves. If using the included poem, the child can flap their wings like the butterfly.

By Mary Jo Oresti  M.A.
(with inspiration from Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Little caterpillar
Are you in a hurry?
Going ‘round the garden
In your coat so furry.

Soon you will sleep
Wrapped in silken threads,
While dreams of rainbow colors
Are dancing in your head.

Then you will awaken
Stretch and find your wings,
Fly on your path of color
Reminding us of spring.

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