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A Tickle a Day

I had a love-hate relationship with tickles growing up. My father used to tickle torture me until it hurt from laughing. The tickle fights would always end with my father winning, as it progressed to a whisker rub, which hurt yet tickled simultaneously. Every time I would initiate a tickle fight with our dad, he would complain that it was his sore foot, and when we moved to the other, he would reply “that’s my other sore foot,” right before he pounced. A lot of memories in our family revolve around tickling.

My daughter’s first smile after she was born was from a tickle under the chin. The first book my mother bought her granddaughter was the Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett. It was an interactive story that came with a pair of tickle monster mitts. It’s still a family favourite bed time story. 

The tradition continues today, as tickling still plays a big role in our home. My daughter and I torture each other with tickles to the point where it feels we will rip at the seams from laughing. It creates incredible and instantaneous responses.

When my daughter won’t crawl out of bed in the morning, the fastest way to get her up to start her day smiling is to tickle her. If she’s feeling sad or anxious, I tickle her to make her move through it. When we’re in a hurry and she’s moving slow as molasses, I tickle her to get her feet moving. 

Tickling has become a favourite tool in my parenting toolbox. Not only does it act as a distraction when emotions are high, but it’s a boredom killer. The stimulation of tickling has been clinically proven to improve emotional and physical well-being, while progressing child development. It’s an incredible stress release, reducing anxiety through laughter. It can also be a fun way to burn a few calories or cure the hiccups.

Tickling builds long-lasting connections with your child. It builds memories that your children will carry for a lifetime. Tickles are one of the most direct ways to your child’s heart. So go ahead, tickle today to keep the blues away.


Janet Smith is a proud mom of one daughter and a marketing professional who is grateful for her rural roots in the London area. Follow Janet’s funny and honest journey at IG & TT | @re.marketable.janet or FB | @janetsiddallsmith


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