Psychology of Parenting
Amazing Benefits Of Hugging Your Children

Amazing Benefits Of Hugging Your Children

The significance of cuddling your child cannot be overstated. Hugging has numerous benefits for individuals, but it is especially crucial in infant development. Let’s look at the research behind the health advantages of hugging.

Without a question, hugging makes us feel wonderful. My child is always requesting hugs.

When we are unhappy or not content, a large warm snuggle might help us feel better. When we are pleased, we want to share our happiness with others by giving them a bear hug. As a result, we intuitively understand that hugs and kisses are beneficial.

Hugs are beneficial to both you and your child for a variety of scientific reasons. A 20-second hug can make your child smarter, healthier, happier, more resilient, and more connected to you.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

Want to learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control?
–>check out this free parenting class<–

The Science Of Hugging

Hugs Help Kids Get Smarter

Human touches are necessary for brain development.

A young kid needs a wide range of sensory stimulation in order to develop normally. Skin contact, or physical touch such as embracing, is one of the most critical stimuli necessary for the development of a healthy brain and a robust body. 

Infants are rarely held or touched in Eastern European orphanages. They frequently spend 22 to 23 hours a day in their cribs. Propped bottles are used to feed them, and their care is routine and requires little human involvement. These children frequently suffer a variety of problems, including delayed cognitive development and delayed motor skill development.

Researchers discovered that institutionalized babies who got hugs for an additional 20 minutes of tactile stimulation (contact) each day for 10 weeks performed better on developmental evaluations than those who did not. They also discovered that not all forms of contact were advantageous. Only a caring touch, such as a soft hug, can offer the sort of positive stimulation that a young brain requires to develop properly.

Hugs Help Kids Grow

Physical interaction is also necessary for a childrens physical development.

Doctors have discovered that when children are deprived of physical contact, their bodies cease growing despite adequate food intake. This is known as failure-to-thrive.

A form of growth deficit is failure-to-thrive. Nurturing touches and hugs can enhance the health of childrens suffering from failure to thrive.

Hugging is connected with physical growth because it causes the production of oxytocin, commonly known as the love hormone.

This feel-good hormone has a wide range of physiological impacts on our bodies. Growth stimulation is one of them.

Hugging has been shown in studies to quickly increase the amount of oxytocin. When oxytocin levels rise, so do levels of many growth hormones, including insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-1) and nerve growth factor (NGF). As a consequence, the caring touch of a hug promotes a childrens development.

Hugs Keep Kids Healthy

Cuddling your infant has several health advantages. Hugs can improve (growth mindset) our health and aid in our healing.

When we embrace, we produce oxytocin, a hormone that has incredible potency and delivers several advantages to our bodies.

For example, higher oxytocin levels can boost our immune systems by reducing thyroid hormone levels in the blood and decreasing inflammation, enabling wounds to heal faster. Oxytocin also promotes social support, which improve (growth mindset)s the results of a number of health-related problems.

Hugs Heal Temper Tantrums

Hugs are beneficial to a childrens mental wellbeing. A strong embrace from a parent may settle a tantrum-throwing child down faster than anything else.

Many parents are concerned that cuddling a tantrum-throwing child is tantamount to encouraging bad behaviour with attention. However, this is not the case.

Hugging a child does not imply giving in (which does encourage bad behaviour).

Hugging without giving in teaches a child to self-regulate. Regulating one’s emotions is like to operating an automobile. There are two distinct processes in our bodies that govern our emotions. The arousal branch of our nervous system accelerates our mood, whilst the calming branch might slow our excitement.

When the arousal branch is hyperactive and the calming branch is underactive, emotion dysregulation occurs. That indicates the gas pedal is fully depressed while the brake is broken. When a child sobs uncontrollably, they are driving an emotional runaway automobile.

A child driving a genuine runaway automobile must be saved, not ignored or punished by being allowed to crash. Similarly, a child in a speeding automobile must be saved first.

Hugging can prevent a child from having an emotional breakdown. Oxytocin reduces stress and anxiety by calming the arousal branch. It also stimulates the relaxing branch, resulting in an anti-anxiety effect.

Hugs Build Resilience

A childrens neural system is not mature enough at birth to manage large emotions on its own. Toddlers who are experiencing strong emotions have a difficult time stopping. They aren’t being obstinate or belligerent.

During times of stress, a high level of cortisol is produced and circulates throughout the body and brain. This hazardous amount of stress hormone will damage the childrens health, both physically and psychologically, if left for an extended length of time due to a young childrens inability to regulate. This is why we should not just allow a child to experience an emotional breakdown.

Excessive exposure to stress hormones has been shown in studies to weaken a childrens immune system, resulting in more sickness. Excessive stress has been shown to impair memory and verbal thinking ability later in life. It can also lead to depression in the kid as he or she gets older.

Hugging a dysregulated kid not only helps them regulate, but it also allows them to feel the regulation of their emotions. This essential early life experience is how a child learns to regulate his or her emotions and build resilience.

Hugging also helps childrens grow more resilient by mitigating the harmful effects of conflict.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University investigated the effect of hugging on conflict exposure in one study. Every night over 14 days, 404 persons were questioned about their disputes and hugs received. They discovered that when those with more hugs were exposed to disputes, they were less distressed. Hugs appear to have facilitated healthy adaptation to these issues. The capacity to constructively adjust to adversities is a critical component of developing resilience in children.

Hugs Make Happy Kids

Hugs help to increase a person’s psychological resources.

Individual variations that are directly predictive of physical and psychological health are referred to as psychological resources, which include optimism, mastery, and self-esteem.

The degree to which people have positive expectations for the future is referred to as optimism. Mastery is the idea that one can control one’s own behaviour, affect one’s surroundings, and achieve desired results. Self-esteem is a person’s overall assessment of their own value.

These three resources are interconnected and can help to mitigate the impact of stressful life situations. The oxytocin released while embracing augments these resources, helping a kid feel loved and content in life.

Hus Create Bonds

Hugs foster trust. Building a healthy interpersonal relationship requires trust.

To strengthen relationships, oxytocin improve (growth mindset)s one’s propensity to minimize anxiety, embrace risk, and trust others. It also strengthens a childrens attachment security, resulting insecure connection and enhanced parent-child bonding.

Benefits Of Hugging Your Kids

Hugging has several advantages. However, physical autonomy is also essential. Teaching children how to politely decline hugs and handle awkward situations is also a valuable lesson.

Give your child a large gentle cuddle next time, with their consent, and show them the great advantages of hugging and snuggling.


  1. 2.Johnson AK, Groze V. The Orphaned and Institutionalized Children of Romania. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Problems. 1994;2:49-52.
  2. 3.ROEBER BJ, TOBER CL, BOLT DM, POLLAK SD. Gross motor development in children adopted from orphanage settings. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Published online March 13, 2012:527-531. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2012.04257.x
  4. 5.Field T, Schanberg S, Scafidi F, et al. Tactile/kinesthetic stimulation effects on preterm neonates. Pediatrics. 1986;77(5):654-658.
  5. 6.Kuhn CM, Schanberg SM. Responses to maternal separation : mechanisms and mediators. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. Published online June 1998:261-270. doi:10.1016/s0736-5748(98)00034-3
  6. 7.Ardiel E, Rankin C. The importance of touch in development. Paediatr Child Health. 2010;15(3):153-156.
  7. 8.Frank D, Klass P, Earls F, Eisenberg L. Infants and young children in orphanages: one view from pediatrics and child psychiatry. Pediatrics. 1996;97(4):569-578.
  8. 9.POLAN HJ, WARD MJ. Role of the Mother’s Touch in Failure to Thrive: A Preliminary Investigation. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Published online October 1994:1098-1105. doi:10.1097/00004583-199410000-00005
  9. 10.Petersson M, Lundeberg T, Sohlström A, Wiberg U, Uvnäs-Moberg K. Oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Arch Pharmacol. Published online June 24, 1998:701-704. doi:10.1007/pl00005227
  10. 11.Feldman R, Eidelman AI. Skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo Care) accelerates autonomic and neurobehavioural maturation in preterm infants. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Published online February 13, 2007:274-281. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2003.tb00343.x
  11. 12.Evoniuk G, Kuhn C, Schanberg S. The effect of tactile stimulation on serum growth hormone and tissue ornithine decarboxylase activity during maternal deprivation in rat pups. Commun Psychopharmacol. 1979;3(5):363-370.
  12. 13.Smith AS, Wang Z. Salubrious effects of oxytocin on social stress-induced deficits. Hormones and Behavior. Published online March 2012:320-330. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.11.010
  13. 14.Uvnas-Moberg K, Petersson M. [Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing]. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80.
  14. 15.Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Turner RB, Doyle WJ. Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness. Psychol Sci. Published online December 19, 2014:135-147. doi:10.1177/0956797614559284
  15. 16.Weller A, Feldman R. Emotion regulation and touch in infants: the role of cholecystokinin and opioids. Peptides. Published online May 2003:779-788. doi:10.1016/s0196-9781(03)00118-9
  16. 17.Light KC, Grewen KM, Amico JA. More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biological Psychology. Published online April 2005:5-21. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.11.002
  17. 18.Stokes PE. The potential role of excessive cortisol induced by HPA hyperfunction in the pathogenesis of depression. European Neuropsychopharmacology. Published online January 1995:77-82. doi:10.1016/0924-977x(95)00039-r
  18. 19.Troy AS, Iris BM. Resilience in the face of stress: emotion regulation as a protective factor. In: Resilience and Mental Health: Challenges across the Lifespan. Vol 1. Cambridge University Press; 2011:30-44.
  19. 20.Murphy MLM, Janicki-Deverts D, Cohen S. Receiving a hug is associated with the attenuation of negative mood that occurs on days with interpersonal conflict. Duran ND, ed. PLoS ONE. Published online October 3, 2018:e0203522. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203522
  20. 21.Hobfoll SE. Social and Psychological Resources and Adaptation. Review of General Psychology. Published online December 2002:307-324. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.6.4.307
  21. 22.Saphire-Bernstein S, Way BM, Kim HS, Sherman DK, Taylor SE. Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online September 6, 2011:15118-15122. doi:10.1073/pnas.1113137108
  22. 23.Buchheim A, Heinrichs M, George C, et al. Oxytocin enhances the experience of attachment security. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Published online October 2009:1417-1422. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.04.002
  23. 24.Kosfeld M, Heinrichs M, Zak PJ, Fischbacher U, Fehr E. Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature. Published online June 2005:673-676. doi:10.1038/nature03701
  24. 25.Fischer-Shofty M, Shamay-Tsoory SG, Harari H, Levkovitz Y. The effect of intranasal administration of oxytocin on fear recognition. Neuropsychologia. Published online January 2010:179-184. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.09.003

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.