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Why Hugs Are So Importance for Kids

mother and daughter hugging one another

Do you remember what it feels like to receive a great big hug from someone you love? We’re going to guess it felt pretty great! Hugs are a wonderful way to show people we love them, but the sad truth is, we don’t nearly hug each other enough. This is especially true for our children. Hugging our kids more can foster love, connection, and other positive emotions.

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The Importance of Hugging Our Children

Hugs are a simple yet powerful act. It’s a sign of affection and warmth, two things that we humans thrive off of. We all know how great it is to receive a hug, and our kids are no different. Regularly hugging our children can bring many benefits, including the following:

  • Co-regulation: This is a scientific term for when our body “syncs up” to another’s. It’s why when a stressed child is hugged by a calm and loving adult, they also calm down.
  • Connection: Hugs provide a sense of love and connection with other people. As social animals, humans need to feel loved and connected.
  • Calm: Hugs cause a release of oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin suppresses cortisol, the stress hormone. As such, hugging someone can boost their mood and promote a sense of calm.

How Often Should You Hug Them?

So, you know that hugging your child is important, but does that mean you should be squeezing them close every hour of every day? Not quite.

There is no magic number to how many hugs you should give your child. Instead, it depends on you, your child, and your child’s comfort level with physical affection (more on this below). Just do what feels natural.

What to Do If a Child Doesn’t Like Hugs

Not everyone enjoys physical affection, and there’s nothing wrong with that! If your child doesn’t like hugs, don’t try to force it. Instead, find other ways to show your affection, such as verbal praises or high fives.

You could also consider giving your child a stuffable animal to hug if this feels more comfortable to them. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of lovable stuffed animals for you to choose from. Look through our website to get started!