Most of the modern parents nowadays are working parents. Working mothers dedicate their time and effort to both workplace and home. Working fathers are working hard to support the family.
Both parents are exhausted at the end of the day. Time is so limited to complete lots of responsibilities and we tend to miss out the time hugging our child.
When is the last time you hugged your child? Is it an affectionate hug with both your arms wrapped around your child and held them close to your heart? Is it just wrapping your arms around your child and letting go in a second, and then quickly turn your head back to your work? Are you too busy to hug your child?
Hugging is not just healthy for our body, but healthy for our soul as well. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that hugging increases the bonding hormone oxytocin and decreases the risk of heart disease.
Hugs reduce high blood pressure and reduce stress. If you are living in a very stressful life, start hugging your loved ones! Sometimes, hugging our loved ones are much comfortable than words. Hugs help us develop good feelings. When we feel good all the time, we are attracting positive energies towards ourselves and eventually lead us to great happiness. This is my personal experiences of feeling good at all time!
Hugging our child helps us strengthen our bonding with our child. When we hug our child affectionately, the child will feel a sense of acceptance. He can sense how much mummy cares and loves him from a hug or skin-to-skin contact. The sense of acceptance is very important in affecting his overall growth and development.
A child who feels accepted and loved develops better learning ability as compared to a child who feels unaccepted and unloved. This is because the former child is able to boost his self-esteem and confidence from feeling good about himself as well as his environment. He wants to explore and find out more about his surrounding which encourages the child to learn and re-learn.
Whereas a child that lack the feeling of acceptance will feel lonely because he feels that no one loves him and this negative feeling doesn’t motivate him to learn. Some of these children will deviate and create a lot of social problems when they grow up.
I hug my children in the school regularly. Hugging my children is a must-to-do list every morning before the day starts. It actually helps me to bond with them faster and easier. Some children who are not used to hugging show unwillingness or discomfort initially when I put my arms around them.
I remembered an incident with a three year old Chinese girl a year back. I would greet her when she reached school. Before I managed to put my arms around her, she would look at me and quickly turned away. I did the same action with her schoolmates and everyone would be smiling after I hugged and spoke to them. She watched quietly.
After few days, I tried putting my arms around her and this time she didn’t turn away. She just stood there and allowed me to hug her. The first time I hugged her, her body was stiff and her expression was serious. I kept repeating my hugging practice with her.
Eventually, her facial expression softened and she would even return her hug whenever I hugged her. She started to open up and participate in most activities in school. Her development was encouraging and her learning ability improved tremendously. I develop good feeling just by hugging the children. Therefore, hugging benefits both giver and receiver.
I notice that hugging our child is not commonly practise in most families in our society. When our child starts schooling, we tend to stop hugging our child. We tend to be reserved and do not show our affection towards our child, maybe because we are afraid that by showing it, we look ‘weak’ in front of our child. Some believe that giving hugs to our child will spoil him. All these are just old-fashioned way of thinking.
We are now living in the 21st century, please change the mentality and perception. Hugging do wonders in a parents-child or teacher-child relationship. Human touch heals and boosts self-esteem as well as brings a sense of security for both the giver and the receiver.
From this moment onwards, do practice the following ritual in your daily life:-
- Say good morning with a hug
- Say good night with a hug and a kiss
- Say thank you with a hug
- Say sorry with a hug
Hold our child close to our hearts for a few moments so that he can feel our love without saying a word. Begin nurturing our child with lots of hugs from this moment onwards because we can never hug our child too much!
This article was first published in The New Age Parents Magazine
About the Author
Rosabel Yip is a passionate Montessori educator in Early Childhood Development. The first 6 years are the most important years for a child to build a strong foundation of their approach to adult life in future & encourages adults to prepare a right environment to nurture their child with love and patience.