Benefits of Hugging for Kids & Parents’ Well-being
Mar 8, 2021 My 3-year-old is such a cuddle bug. She often asks me to cuddle with her and most days I will drop everything and honor her request. I know that this age and time will only last for so long, but it means so much at the same time.
Hugging her and all my kids always gives me joy and a smile on my face. But the benefits of hugging your kids are so great you might go hug them even when they are fast asleep like angels. Hugging your kids before you drift off to sleep will make a perfect end to your day – and there is science to prove this!!
In This Article
Why is it Important to Cuddle Your Child?
There are so many benefits to skin-to-skin contact when a baby is born. Science says the health benefits of hugging are equally the same when it comes to hugging your children and even for parents’ well-being.
According to this study, children who lack physical touch experience developmental delays, including future problems even into adulthood.
As humans, we naturally need affection and love. And it starts from day one and continues throughout our life. The critical effects of children not receiving affection are long-lasting and life-altering.
Children will suffer from cognitive development issues and impairment in other areas. Some children will even have issues with weight gain.
You see, hugging and the stimulation of physical touch releases hormones and cause neurological changes inside our brains.
The Benefits a Hug Can Bring
In 2020, there was a viral Tik Tok video that many parents were trying on their toddlers. The video asked parents to approach their child, especially their toddler.
They were to place their head into their child’s lap while the toddler was watching TV. And then record their reaction.
Most videos would show the toddler instantly hugging and grabbing their parent’s head. Some children would kiss their parents or caress their heads. The sweet response brought tears to many parents’ eyes.
While people made these videos to join the trend. It revealed a truth about children and their natural nurture response. Something that science studies talk about.
A hug is more than just a loving touch, it is instinctual and here is why:
- It chemically releases the “happy hormone”
- Helps strengthen your immune system
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Cognitively helps the brain function at a higher rate.
In other words, the simple touch of a hug has health benefits and helps support developmental growth.
For children, this can mean feeling loved and the natural response a parent too can feel. Hugging helps create an environment where the person feels whole and accepted.
For children who are learning and developing, hugging aids in the following ways:
- Fewer tantrums,
- Helps them regulate emotions,
- Aids in stress management,
- Increased parent and child relationship,
- Aids in high self-esteem.
Can You Be Too Affectionate with Your Child?
As a mom, I never believed in the “cry it out” method for babies. I also never believed you can share too much affection. I think there are seasons when a child needs more affection and love. And after having three kids I know that each child will have different needs.
According to the Urban Child Institute: Study after study shows that being too affectionate with your child does not risk spoiling them at all.
They go on to talk about how parents should be more worried if they are actually not giving the child the attention they need.
When it comes to hugging your child, take cues from your kids, like the times when they are seeking your attention, the times when they are hurt, and when they are feeling sad. And sometimes just because hugs can make the biggest impact.
Worry less about how to hug and spend more time on how great it feels when you do.
Bonding with Your Children
I know that not every person is a hugger, and there is a saying out there of people’s different love languages. But hugging has so many benefits for both parent and child.
With all the studies supporting how children are affected by a lack of affection, it’s important to make the time. Especially if you are a busy working parent with limited time during each day.
Ideas on how to increase this bond with your child and how you can naturally do it:
- When you greet your child from a long day or when they come home from school, greet them with a hug. And tell them you are happy to see them.
- Watch a family movie together and snuggle and hug with a blanket.
- Seek out playtime with them and throughout your play hug them and tickle them.
- Whenever your child shares excitement about something they did reinforce their self-esteem by giving them a hug and telling them how proud you are.
- Say daily affirmations to your child while giving them hugs.
- Start the day off by hugging your child before you head out to your busy day.
- Always hug your child goodnight.
It’s important to recognize that when your child gets older they may need fewer hugs. But, also during the times they need hugs, especially during the pre-teen and teenage years. Those hugs can mean the end of swirling emotions and give the reassurance they need to deal with whatever it is they are dealing with.
Hugs for Kids Are a Necessity
In conclusion, understand that you can never love your kids too much. A parent hugging a child provides essential contact to his/her well-being and development.
An actual chemical reaction happens when a hug is exchanged, which is the release of oxytocin. This sends a rush of good and love feelings and creates a calming effect and happiness. This is one of the best gifts you can give to your child.
The next time your toddler has a tantrum try hugging them. If your teen is having a hard time, reassure them things will work out and hug them with confidence that no matter what you love them.
Nurturing hugs are imperative, so don’t miss those opportunities when they are young. Help your child thrive from day one and know they are never too old for a hug. That includes yourself as a parent.
Lastly, if a child experiences prolonged periods of stress, anger, or emotional turmoil it can actually harm them. They will experience more illnesses, lower self-esteem, depression, and this affects them mentally as well as physically.
Sometimes when your child is having a bad day it could be that they are struggling with something emotionally and they will lash out in tantrums or act out with disruptive behavior. Take a deep breath and get down to their level. Do what you just read in this article about the benefits of hugging: Hug them and ask them what you can do to help. It will help them be more resilient to the difficult things life will eventually throw their way in adulthood.
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