Sometimes the most special moments in parenting are the spontaneous tickle fights. They come out of nowhere. It's not something you plan or put on the calendar, but you're just causally hanging out with your kid and suddenly... you're tickling each other. Or you're sitting with your baby, who is adorably looking up at you and you reach under their armpits to give them a good tickle and are rewarded with fabulous baby laughter. But why do kids like being tickled so much? What is it about the game that makes it so much fun for parents and children?
The reason why some people, children especially, like being tickled is a combination of things, including the excitement, spontaneity, and the way your brain reacts to the sensation. The dictionary definition of “tickle” is “lightly touch or prod (a person or a part of the body) in a way that causes itching and often laughter.” When someone tickles you, according to Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, two areas of the brain respond to the tickling: the somatosensory cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. These are both areas of the brain that register pleasure.
The great thing about the tickling interaction is that it's a way to connect with your kids that doesn't cost anything, can be done almost anywhere, and doesn't require any equipment or preparation. What an easy way to bond with your child!