Activating Calming Reflexes

Children are born with specific reflexes.

Place your finger in a newborn’s hand, and the infant will gently wrap their fingers right around yours.


Because we have the gift of reflexes to keep us safe.

This comes in handy (yup a pun), if a child begins to fall, when pressure is applied to the middle of their hand, their fingers automatically curl around the surface. This can potentially save a child from a fall and injury.

Our bodies are amazing.

How about calming reflexes?

One of my absolute favorite sleep doctors, Harvey Karp, explains the calming reflexes, and how to activate them all.

Want the whole thing? Feel free to read, The Happiest Baby on the Block.

If you don’t have the energy or time to go through the whole thing, here’s a quick overview.

Babies do not always need gentle, gliding motions. Babies often need rocking and swaying that stimulates their vestibular system.

Think about the motion a child experiences in the womb. It is often quick, then slow, then stopped, then fast again. Swishing, swooshing, and being wonderfully comforted the entire time.

Babies often enjoy a good rocking and bouncing.

Even when tired.

Additionally, babies actually don’t need it to be quiet to fall asleep.

It wasn’t quiet in the tummy, and it doesn’t have to be quiet outside either.

Think about the stories of children who sleep best when a vacuum is running, when a car is idling, when in a busy environment…

Noises can be incredibly soothing.

Even adults feel this way.

From sound machines, to white noise, to sleeping with open windows – noises can actually help children (and adults) sleep well.

Sound and movement are not the only ways to activate calming.

Could you benefit from figuring out how to best activate your own child’s calming reflexes?

Let’s chat.

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