• Home
  • Kids
  • 6 Reasons Why Tickling Kids Can Be Harmful

6 Reasons Why Tickling Kids Can Be Harmful

There is almost nothing as precious as a toddler bursting into laughter. Since time immemorial, tickling children (and even younger siblings) has been considered a form of play. Tickling babies is often considered a harmless and enjoyable way to bond and play. Some children even request their parents for tickling baby feet games from their parents, which creates a sense of closeness and playfulness. However, there are a lot of reasons floating around which deem tickling and playful tickle fights to be really harmful to children. Yes, you read that right.

It is time that we understood the hidden meaning behind a baby’s screeching laughter when the ‘tickle monster’ approaches.

Is Tickling Babies Really Harmless?

While tickling is considered harmless fun and a way to bond with your child, after listening to several adults recount the emotional challenges they experienced during childhood, we have to reconsider if it is indeed ok to tickle babies. In short, it’s not really a healthy activity. In worst-case scenarios, your little one might develop difficulty relaxing when someone is near them. When they grow up, they may be unable to sleep near a trusted partner or remain calm when there is more than casual touching between them and someone they love.

When asked about their fears, many adults recall times from their childhood when they were tickled and unable to stop the tickling. These experiences of being unable to control their body and being in a state of distress can have long-lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety and security in physical relationships. Recent research suggests that tickling kids can adversely affect children’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

In this blog post, we’ll explore six reasons why tickling kids can be harmful.

Is It OK to Tickle Babies?

First things first, it is just cruel to tickle a defenceless infant who is unable to express whether or not they enjoy it. It’s really unfortunate that if they don’t enjoy being tickled at all, they won’t be able to express it as toddlers find it difficult to communicate. They might even find themselves struggling for air, all the while giving the impression that they are having the time of their life.

  1. It can cause physical harm
  2. Tickling kids can lead to physical harm, especially if the child is too young or too fragile. The tickling sensation can be too intense for their delicate skin, leading to redness, irritation, and injury. It can also cause respiratory problems, especially for children with asthma.

    Furthermore, if the child is tickled too forcefully or in sensitive areas, such as the neck or groin, it can cause pain, discomfort, and even trauma.

    Tickling a baby can also send mixed signals to them about their bodies and personal boundaries. They may need clarification about what is appropriate to touch and what is not, leading to potential problems in the future.

  3. It can create trust issues
  4. When adults plan to have fun by tickling babies, they often do it without their consent, ignoring their boundaries and physical autonomy. This can make the child feel uncomfortable, violated, and confused about the nature of touch and intimacy. It can also undermine their trust in the adult and their ability to set and enforce boundaries.

    It is essential to remember that children are individuals with unique personalities. Tickling baby feet might be enjoyable for one child but not for another. Therefore, communicating and asking for their consent before engaging in any physical play, including tickling babies, is necessary.

    It’s essential for adults to understand the impact that tickling a baby can have on them and to take steps to ensure that their actions are always respectful and consensual. If a child expresses discomfort or asks an adult to stop tickling them, listening and respecting their boundaries is essential. Doing so can help create a safe and supportive environment for all children to grow and thrive.

  5. It can be humiliating
  6. Tickling kids can humiliate some children, especially if they have experienced it in public or front of their peers. It can make them feel embarrassed, self-conscious, and exposed, leading to low self-esteem and anxiety. Moreover, if tickling a baby involves teasing or mocking, it can create a toxic dynamic between the adult and the child based on power and control.

    Humiliation can have long-lasting effects on a child’s psyche. When a child is tickled in public or in front of their peers, it can create a sense of shame and embarrassment lasting for years. Ticking a baby may feel like being singled out, made fun of, or bullied. This can lead to feelings of isolation and alienation.

  7. It can reinforce gender stereotypes
  8. Tickling babies can reinforce gender stereotypes, particularly those related to masculinity and femininity. Boys are often tickled more aggressively and for more extended periods than girls, which can promote the idea that boys should endure pain and be tough. On the other hand, girls are often tickled more gently and in more intimate areas, which can perpetuate the idea that girls should be passive and vulnerable.

    Moreover, tickling kids can also create power imbalances between the tickler and the child. It puts the tickler in control and can make the child feel powerless and vulnerable. This can lead to anxiety and discomfort, especially if the tickling continues beyond the child’s comfort level.

  9. It can trigger traumatic memories
  10. Finally, tickling kids can trigger traumatic memories in children who have experienced abuse or assault. Tickling baby feet can simulate being held down, touched, or violated without consent, which can be highly triggering and traumatic for some children. Even if tickling baby feet is done with good intentions and no harm intended, it can still cause emotional distress and flashbacks.

  11. The problem with tickling
  12. Since many adults dislike being tickled and express their disapproval in quite noisy terms, why is it acceptable to play “tickle monster” with infants? Unwanted tickling can also be interpreted as a way for adults to establish dominance over babies since it gives them the impression that adults can do anything they want to their bodies. This becomes a battle to take charge of their own bodies.


Tickling a baby may seem harmless fun, but it can negatively affect their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. It’s essential to respect children’s boundaries, autonomy, and dignity, and avoid any activity that could harm or humiliate them. If you want to bond and play with your child, consider alternative safe, respectful, and enjoyable activities for both of you.

For informative and accurate articles on all things related to your new born-toddler’s development, growth, health and nutrition, follow EuroKids Blogs and do check out our nationally recognized preschools – EuroKids for the first step in your kid’s educational journey!

About Us

EuroKids is recognized as India’s most respected early childhood education brand, with over 21 years of experience, and has a presence in 350+ cities & 3 countries. The journey began in 2001 with 2 preschools and since then the group has consistently raised the bar for preschool education through its innovative and mindful curriculum – EUNOIA, which helps children grow holistically in a home-like environment.

Follow Us

Get Update

Subscribe our newsletter to get the best stories into your inbox!