Today is National Hug Day. I grew up in a house where we did huge hugs. We hugged to greet each other, to say goodbye, to show love and sometimes for no reason at all. You could say I’m a hugger and I love it. But did you know there are greater benefits to you and your child than just a hug feels nice?
Caroline Gartland is a mental health expert and director of SensoBaby. She says
“Hugs are a good way to help your child regulate their own emotions. If they feel overstimulated or anxious, a warm embrace can help them feel grounded again. If you are calm and controlled, it can help your child begin to calm down.”
What Science Says About Hugs
Reduce Stress, Hug.
It’s now common knowledge that skin to skin contact with a newborn is so important. One of the reasons for this is it reduces the cortisol levels. (Stress hormone). A happy baby is a healthy baby and a happy mummy.
The more you hug your baby the bigger their brain growth. This is according to a study from the National Children’s Hospital in Ohio. They looked at premature and full-term babies. There were 125 babies looked at and how well they responded to being physically touched.
The results from the study indicated that babies who were given more affection by parents or hospital staff showed a stronger brain response.
There was also another study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It looked at school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life had a larger hippocampus. This is a key to learning, memory, and response to stress. The study is the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing.
Aka a hug is a no-brainer.
Growing Big and Tall
Did you know that the more you hug your children the better they grow? This is because hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. This feel-good hormone has many important effects on our bodies. One of them is growth stimulation.
Make A Happier Adult.
Did you know that a study from the University of Notre Dame found that hugs could help your child’s mental health even as an adult? They surveyed more than 600 adults about the way in which they were raised and found good news for hugging parents.
The adults who received more affection displayed less depression and anxiety. They were also more compassionate overall. Those that reported less affection struggled with mental health issues, they tended to be more upset in social situations and were less able to relate to other people’s perspectives.
Yup a study told you it’s true, get hugging.
How to Make Sure You Hug And Connect– The 9 Minute Technique
Parenting can on occasion feel like a herculean task, but did you know there is a great tool called the 9-minute technique. It will help create a healthy emotional system for your child to develop in.
These are the 9 most important minutes in your child’s day.
- The first 3 minutes that they wake up
- The first 3 minutes when they get home from school
- The last 3 minutes of the day
What This Looks Like In Practice?
Instead of doing the usual race through to breakfast and then school why don’t you spend 3 minutes waking up together. Why not give some cuddles and chat about the upcoming day? When you get home from school instead of starting homework or watching TV why don’t you sit down and talk? As for the last 3 minutes well how about closing the day with affection and chats. Give your children the opportunity to open up to you. If your child isn’t talking yet, don’t worry, books and cuddles work too.
Children experience so much throughout the day so these 9 minutes are a fantastic way to promote emotional health and make your child feel loved. They know you have an emotional investment in them and that makes your relationship better. I’m trying it. I’ll admit some days are easier than others!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. The science tells us to hug our kids but why not friends and family too. Hey, let’s try hug more every day, not just today.
Big hugs to you from me.