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Watching children hugging each other leaves you with a sense of calm and comfort, doesn’t it? The importance of hugs in a child’s life is heavily underestimated by adults. Children learn and develop a lot from how their parents behave with them. Gifts and celebrations might seem great, but a simple hug can spread a lot of magic inside your child that such objects rarely can.
How Often Your Child Needs to Be Hugged
While it may feel weird to put a number on the times you hug your child, it has been established that at least 8-12 hugs are essential on a daily basis. These can be a quick, or a nice cuddle, or a simple morning hug. The key is to spend physical time together that is deep and emphatic.
A word of caution – Ensure your child is not being forced to give hug. It needs to be a mutual agreement.
What Are the Benefits of Hugging Your Child
Whether you are hugging toddlers or even a grown-up child, there are benefits to it that might not be directly visible but are inherently present. These are necessary for them to be a well-rounded individual in the long run.
1. Establish a Connection From Within
There has been no person who has indulged in a long hug with a loved one and has his mind distracted elsewhere. To wax poetic for a moment, a hug can pretty much stop time in a person’s head and put them right in the present situation. That instance is what allows you to connect with your child and get a good hang of how the other is feeling. A transfer of empathy also takes place as a result.
2. Teaching the Lessons of Giving and Receiving
While many children might struggle with understanding how to share their own toys or give someone one of their own, a hug can begin establishing that emotion gradually. At times, children don’t want to be hugged as well. That’s totally fine and you can try again sometime else. While hugging is an act of giving, it is also an act of receiving and both people need to be on the same page about it. In due time, your child will surprise you with a random hug out of nowhere, too.
3. Simple Relaxation of Body Muscles
The transfer of empathy that results from a hug manifests in the form of relaxation, allowing muscles to lose their tension and feel accepted. Many people even talk about how a simple hug changed their day or made them forget about their backache. The improvement of mood affects the body internally, which can help in improving blood circulation, too.
4. Substantial Reduction of Stress
There is a strong reason why doctors and nurses alike stress on the baby spending extended skin-to-skin contact with the mother after birth. Well, the same reason applies for hugs as well, even though the contact might be different. The feeling of having someone close to you – especially someone who cares about you – also ends up triggering the release of oxytocin within the body, which plays a vital role in reducing stress and lifting up your mood.
5. Strengthening of the Body’s Immunity
No, this is not an alternative medicine statistic but a proven medical fact. The pattern of giving a hug is what affects the immune system directly. Since a hug ends up with one person applying pressure on the other person’s sternum, this pressure also ends up stimulating the thymus gland located in the same region. This gland is responsible for maintaining optimal levels of antibodies and white blood cells internally, which helps in protecting you from any infections and diseases.
6. Makes You Feel Happy Instantly
Don’t you leave a hug with a large smile? That’s absolutely natural and a simple hug can work wonders in cutting down any bubbling anger or feelings of loneliness by boosting the serotonin levels immediately.
7. Better Adherence to Discipline
As surprising as it might sound, hugging helps children understand their mistakes and errant behaviour much better than using a stick or administering corporal punishment. It is necessary for kids to know that despite their mistakes, they are still loved and you want the best for them. This will make them more accepting of your advice.
8. Being Able to Empathize With Emotions
Many times, kids, as well as adults, may have difficulty in conveying how they are feeling. The reasons behind it might be childish as well, and they fear being laughed at. Where words might fail, a simple hug can bring reassurance and empathy, allowing kids to open up to you easily.
9. Build Up Self-Esteem in a Healthy Manner
The tendency to share love confidently and without fear is what helps an individual feel good about himself. Receiving a hug makes a kid feel validated while it makes him feel better when he gives it to someone else, too. This can instil a sense of self-worth in him.
10. Establishing a Sense of Security
Our children are just coming to terms with the big bad world out there. No matter how confident they might seem, every person yearns for a place where they can be assured of being safe. A simple hug can bring that emotion and remove any sense of unfounded fear from within.
Tips for Parents to Ensure Your Child Is Getting Enough Hugs in a Day
Making sure that your child receives enough hugs in a day doesn’t have to abide by any schedule of sorts. Integrating them into everyday habits is a good way to get it going.
- Instil a habit of hugging your child when he wakes up
- Let him hug you when he is boarding his school bus
- Give him a tight hug once he gets back home from school
- Cuddle each other for some time before you sleep at night
- Give your little one a tight hug when he exhibits good behaviour
- Make sure to use the balm of a hug if your little one begins to cry
- In case you end up scolding your child, follow up with a hug right away
The importance of a mother hugging her child on a regular basis cannot be stressed enough. The bond that they share together needs to keep developing over time, and these are extremely simple ways to make it happen.