Who doesn’t love a warm hug?? We all do!! So does the child.
As it was said in Muna bhai MBBS, “Jaddu ke jhapi” means a hug with magic. What he meant was a hug can help in healing, and studies have shown that hugs or physical touch do help in healing. This has been practised for a very long time in NICUs and doctors and nurses have seen the children healing. They call it the therapeutic touch.
For children, a hug acts like magic. It affects them both physically and mentally. Research shows kids who get hugs more frequently from their parents or caregivers have better parent-child relationships, get better grades, understand better and are more affectionate. Basically, they are more sorted in life. But sometimes some kids prefer not to be touched, in such cases, listen to the child and avoid hugging. It is a personal preference.
Just a 20-second hug will do wonders. So, next time make sure you find those 20 seconds a day out of your busy schedule for your children. A love hormone called oxytocin is released when you hug, and the stress hormone cortisol is taken to limits by the body. So, it is for benefit not only for your child but also for you.
Try hugging your child after you have had a stressful day, and you will feel relaxed and calm.
1. A hug can heal both mind and body
The mind is as important as the body. A person who looks physically fine might not be fine at all. The awareness of mental health is not very good in India as well as the other countries. Suicide rates according to studies among teenagers and young adults have been increasing daily.
A hug can heal. A hug can make the child understand that someone is there for you. A hug can release all the good hormones and make the child feel loved. Any trouble the child is in, give your child a hug first and let the child calm down and settle. the child’s mind will come to ease. A child who is being hugged constantly from birth will grow up to be a calmer and more composed teenager and adult. The suicide rates can drastically reduce as the minds will heal, if we just hug our children more often, of course with their consent.
POV: A child who is been hugged a lot since birth will throw fewer tantrums than a child who is abused physically or verbally. To quote an example, my daughter who is 5 years old, whom we hug so much all through the day (and get lovely hugs back) rarely shows any tantrums, and if she is upset and we explain things to her, she understands, and responds very well.
2. Hugs can calm down your child during a tantrum
Next time your child throws a tantrum, just go to her eye level and hug her. She still might be crying or moving a lot or pushing you away, but you will realise slowly she will start settling, her stress level will reduce, and she will start hugging you back. And in just a minute or two the tantrum is over. Oxytocins take over the cortisol and adrenalin.
Once it is over you can make her sit with you and ask her politely, what happened. She will be in a better situation to answer you. And no, this is not giving in to the tantrum. It is a way of calming them down.
A child can not regulate her upper brain which is the reason for rational behaviour, emotions or tantrums all the time. So, you need to calm the child down help the child connect to it, and understand what triggered it. A hug is one of the best ways to calm down an overly anxious child or an adult for that matter.
3. Hugs help in increasing your bond with your child
We all want that loving bond with our kids. Hugging them daily with all the love and affection will surely increase the bond. The child will be closer to you, more affectionate and friendly. It helps in developing empathy in the child. The child gets more compassionate. He or she will understand others better, and think about the consequences. They will understand your needs as well. You can become a little more independent as the child will eventually know why your work is important to you.
You will enjoy your child’s company even more when your child and you have a closer bond. You will wait to spend some more time together. You will wait to plan more trips and vacations with your child. Life will become more simpler and pretty.
4. Hugs can help them be smarter
The hippocampus is the area in our brain which helps in learning and memory. If the hippocampus is well developed the child will be smarter and perform and understand better at school. According to scientists, if a child is nurtured early in life, the child’s hippocampus will be developed better, which will help your child to be comparatively smarter than the others in the class. Yes, there are other factors too, but giving your child warm hugs will enhance all the other factors, and help your child in a better way.
5. Hugs keep kids healthy
Hugging releases oxytocin which helps to boost the immune system. It reduces inflammation and pain, improves healing and the child is better soon. So, hugs are basically immune boosters, which help us daily to stay healthy. If the child has a better immune system the child will be able to fight various viruses better.
6. Hugs keep kids happy
Hugs keep not just children but everyone happy. The child feels more loved, more accepted and more taken care of. The child feels that he or she is important. Thinking of all the good things, the child becomes a happy child.
Some authors also mention that hugs are similar to meditation. It has a positive effect on the child’s brain and the immune system. Keeping the child motivated and happy always.
7. Hugs help kids in being more resilient
What is being resilient? It is the ability to adapt to difficult situations. When we are in a difficult situation hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released which causes a lot of stress. When we are in stress, it becomes very difficult to react appropriately. When the child is hugged when under stress the release of oxytocin eases the child.
The child slowly learns resilience which will help the child in future. It will help the child handle stress at school, in games, in the office etc., by being calm and supple.
A hug from your parent can make your day. Hug your child every day as much as you can. The child doesn’t want your money or your gifts. The child wants your time and your touch. But make sure to step away if the child is not comfortable as you need to respect their boundaries.
“Sometimes a silent hug is the only thing to say” – Robert Brault