When you hug your kids, you can actually help their brains grow. I find that amazing! Science tells us that such a simple, loving action really does make our children’s brains develop faster.
Who knew something as easy as a hug from Mom or Dad could trigger brain growth and so much more?
Why You Should Hug Your Kids Lots and Lots
From the moment our babies are born, they are hardwired to need loving physical contact in order to thrive. Thankfully, it’s built into the wondrous human machinery of a mom to naturally want to hold and snuggle her newborn.
It’s instinctive. Moms have never needed science to tell them that wrapping their arms around their child is necessary.
It’s worth noting, however, that in fact, science says exactly that.
In a study of more than 100 babies, it was reported that babies who are held and cuddled in the hospital definitely experience positive lasting effects over the years.
One of the positive effects of touch is brain growth.
It makes sense when you understand that touch is actually the very first sense to develop in a fetus. By 8 weeks it will respond to touch on the lips and cheeks. The fetus can respond to being touched all over its body by 14 weeks. (Amazing, isn’t it?)
Say hello to oxytocin.
An awesome hug releases the feel-good hormone known as oxytocin. You’ve probably heard of it.
Did you know that without oxytocin you would, in all likelihood, be so upset with your newborn baby right after birth that you wouldn’t want to go near it?
The hormone is released in a momma during childbirth so that she can put aside the horrific pain that little human just caused and go straight into falling in love with them. Thanks, oxytocin!
Throughout childhood (and for the rest of their lives) human beings benefit so, so much from it. By lowering our heart rates and cortisol levels, oxytocin makes us feel better.
Some of the awesome things it does for kids as well as adults are:
- creating a feeling of contentment
- helping to keep the immune system nice and healthy
- aids in getting our wounds to heal faster
- lowers stress and anxiety
- increases the likelihood of bonding with the hugger
- lowers blood pressure
When your kiddo has lower stress, lower anxiety and feels content and safe, of course, they are going to learn better.
Oxytocin’s BFF is Dopamine
Hugs also release dopamine. Believe it or not, dopamine is the same hormone that gives people the high they are searching for when they use awful drugs like cocaine. It’s not called “the pleasure hormone” for nothing.
Dopamine is known to improve a person’s mood, but it also motivates them as well.
Oxytocin + Dopamine = Happy, Healthy Learners
Hug your kids every day, multiple times a day (if they’ll let you) and it’ll help them feel better, learn better, be more confident, and feel calmer.
And guess what? As the hugger, you’ll benefit in the same way. You’ll also be a happier, healthier parent.
In closing, hugging your kids is one of the most perfect ways to show your love. I should add that I’m not trying to leave out moms of special needs kiddos.
I know that children with sensory issues may not find hugging enjoyable at all. In fact, it may be off the table. I’m positive that the way you connect with your child is absolutely perfect and healthy for your relationship.
Are you a hugger? Does your child dislike hugs? Share your story in the comments and help other moms. Thanks for reading!