Hugs. Snuggles. Cuddles. Don’t these words send vibes of warmth and happiness to us all? They sure do! We as adults have come to know the power of an embrace–in good times or bad – and feel utterly relieved and happy afterwards. So much so that the world observes National Hugging Day every year on January 21 to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often. Why? Because a hug is the easiest way to show our love to anyone, but, did you know that science itself backs the power of hugs? In fact, research shows that hugging does not only help you bond better, but also helps boost your physical, mental and emotional health. And when we talk about hugging our kids, we are only setting a solid foundation for a happy, healthy adult.
How Many Hugs Does A Child Need?
As many as you can give out! In the words of Psychotherapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Since children are developing and growing every day, you should be hugging them at least 12 times a day. A cuddle now, a snuggle after bath, or a hug before bedtime – we guess there are many ways these beautiful moments can be added to your daily routine. And, yes, these cuddles do have benefits too! When you hug someone, powerful, health-boosting and growth-inducing hormones are released in the process, which are immensely beneficial for your child. A hug is all you need to stimulate your child’s growth through biochemical and physiological reactions in the body to boost health, calm the nervous system and stimulate positive emotions.
What Are The Benefits Of Hugging A Child?
- Makes them happy: A close cuddle with your child will help release the “happy hormone” or oxytocin. This hormone promotes the feeling of bonding, trust, comfort, safety and devotion. The longer the hug, the better effect it has- so even when you are super busy, make sure your hug lasts at least 6 seconds, though one that lasts 20 seconds will do a better job!
- Makes them sleep better: If you snuggle your child for a couple of minutes before they doze off, you are ensuring a good sleep for him and yourself. Hugging relaxes the body and has therapeutic effects that help a child sleep better.
- Reduces stress: Now this one goes for both the parents and the kids. Haven’t you often felt that once you hug your child, all your tiredness for the day vanishes? Similarly, a child who is hugged feels relaxed and safe as the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) decrease with this physical expression of love.
- Makes them confident: A hug from close family boosts a child’s confidence and self-esteem, helping him maintain optimum emotional health. A hug fights the feelings of loneliness and insecurity and makes a child feel appreciated and loved. It also activates the Solar Plexus Chakra, the energy centre that holds the key to one’s self-esteem and confidence.
- Boosts immunity: Snuggles and cuddles in which the participants’ hearts get pressed against each other boost the immunity by promoting the production of white blood cells by stimulating the thymus gland. This will help to keep your child healthy and free from diseases!
- Elevates the mood: A simple, close hug stimulates dopamine, known as the pleasure hormone, coupled with serotonin which sends instant pleasure waves in the body and elevates the mood. A cranky child can be easily handled by holding close for a few minutes!
- Expresses your love: So you may not be saying “I love you” often to your child, but a hug now and then can clearly express your love without words and make your child feel close to you. Research has it that families that express affection towards each other in some way are 47% more likely to bond closely.
- Helps to heal: Do you know that hugs help heal diseases? This again is attributed to the release of oxytocin. For this reason, parents of premature babies are encouraged to have skin-on-skin contact to help them grow and develop. This very reason is advocated by experts who swear that a new mother heals quickly after delivery if she is immediately left with her baby undisturbed.
How Can You Ensure Your Child Gets Enough Hugs A Day?
There is no such thing as too many hugs! Start with waking up your kid, and then work in a hug when she gets ready for school. A goodbye with a hug sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Greet your child with a tight hug when she is back, snuggle up cosily with her during the nap. Hug your child when she plays with you, finishes her dinner, says or does something cute, and then when she finally goes off to sleep.
We all know that a child’s comfort is of utmost importance for a mother, and your hug is the best way to ensure your child gets that comfort. But what about the times when you are not around? In those situations, I found that the new Huggies Wonder Pants will do the trick! Inspired by a mother’s hug, their new hug-fit design provides comfort to a baby, second only to a mother’s hug. The power of a mother’s hug is wonderful, but the comfort of the new Huggies Wonder Pants comes a close second.
As can be deduced from the facts stated above, hugs can go a long way in promoting happiness and joy. Do not let the powers of a great hug go away – strive for them as much as you can!