I’m not ashamed to say it, that we are a hugging family. We hug each other a lot. And it’s intentional. There are a number of different kinds of hugs that we give for different reasons, but here are a few in our regular repertoire:
- family hugs
- bear hugs
- long hugs
- bedtime hugs
- just because hugs
- happy hugs
- honor hugs
As parents, one of the greatest things we can do for our children is to give them our unconditional love. And one of the easiest ways to show that love is to hug them often.
Hugs can do great amounts of good—especially for children. (Princess Diana)
According to scientific research, the benefits of hugging are numerous. Not only do they make us feel good and warm and fuzzy, they also provide a ton of benefits for our children, including:
- Smarter kids – a child’s mental development requires positive sensory stimulation. Hugging easily provides that.
- Healthy growth – Hugging is connected to the immediate release of “the love hormone” – oxytocin, which increases a child’s growth stimulation as well as strengthens their immune system. However, children deprived of physical affection are more likely to suffer from growth deficiencies.
- Emotional regulation – Children naturally have a hard time regulating their own emotions, but hugging can be used as a calming factor for your kids, whether they are throwing a tantrum, or struggling with other strong emotions such as fear, anger, or frustration.
- Happier children – does this one really need any scientific explanation. When a child feels loved, a child feels happy.
Whether you’re naturally a hugger or not, your kids both need and desire it from you. So learn to get into the default of giving your kids hugs regularly for a multitude of different reasons – when you want to show them you love them, you’re proud of them, you’re happy for them, you’re sad for them, you missed them, you are thankful for them, you appreciate them… Come up with reasons to give hugs to your children every day, or simply give them unexpected hugs for no reason at all. Even if they resist it at first, they’ll get used to it pretty quickly.
We’ve found that our kids love our hugs, and surprisingly, we’ve never been able to give them enough yet. So we’ll just keep on giving. Because a hug is a gift that keeps on giving. It has the ability to give hope, peace, comfort, love, joy and affection long after it’s been given. I like how one person put it when they said:
Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy and gives the person hugged an emotional lift. You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth. Scientists say that hugging is a form of communication because it can say things you don’t have the words for. And the nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give one without getting one.
A hug can be given for many different reasons to many different people, yet is a language that any person anywhere can understand. And especially our children.
I want to give you a H.U.G. challenge for this coming week. Here it is – Give your kids at least THREE HUGS EVERY DAY for the next week. And here’s an easy way to make it happen. Give them an:
- H – onor hug – Find something daily to be proud of them for. Then give them a hug to show them you’re proud of them and that they belong to you.
- U – nexpected hug – Randomly, give them a hug that they were not expecting for any reason you choose or for no reason at all, simply because you love them.
- G – ood long hug – Instead of giving your kids a half-hearted side hug or a passive pat on the back as they go to bed, give them a full-on bear hug and make it a long one every night this week.
If you will do this for the next seven days, I believe that you’ll begin to see a difference in the way your kids relate to you, and maybe even in the way that you relate to them as well. Because a little more time spent hugging in the family can make the world, and the home, a better place.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.