What’s the sweetest gesture to show someone that you love them? A ‘hug’ does it all, definitely. For all the lovely emotions, from meeting someone after a long time to bidding them bye, hugs transmit emotions the best way. Moreover, a new study finds, that hugs work wonders when it comes to kids. According to the study, the more you hug your kids, the more their brain develops. So parents, here’s a chance to be a contributor to the overall development of your child. After all, does anything feel better than hugging a piece of your heart?

Bhavani Giddu, CEO Footprint Global Communications and specialising in advocacy communication in public health, says, “It has been proven that skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her child has physiological and psychological benefits for both, besides helping the infant in immune development and brain & cognitive development. The West has the concept of Kangaroo Care, where the mother holds the new-born to her bare chest, snuggles and breastfeeds the baby; this concept has also been catching up in India. This immensely helps in nurturing a protective feeling in children. Hugging stimulates the brain and even as adults we do feel a sense of care, love, and attachment and a special bonding when we hug. All of these positive stimulants will only do well for physical, psychological and cognitive development.”

How hugs help in eliminating stress

Though stress is bad for every person, when it comes to kids, stress can act as the biggest reason why the growth of their brain is impeded. Moreover, there may be times when they don’t even feel like sharing and that’s the point when hugs come into the role.

Hugs are associated with the release of a hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called as ‘love hormone.’ When you come in physical contact with a person you love, oxytocin is released by the brain in the bloodstream.

Hugs are associated with the release of a hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called as ‘love hormone.’ When you come in physical contact with a person you love, oxytocin is released by the brain in the bloodstream. This makes you feel safe, calm and trusting. Sunayana Roy, mother of two boys, writer and editor, and certified babywearing professional says, “Touch is an important de-stressor for my children. Since they were babies I have seen that holding them tight helps calm their heartbeat, slow down racing emotions, and bring them to a state where they can more calmly deal with whatever is agitating them. Even pats and handholding help but there’s nothing as soothing and comforting as a big, cuddly hug”.

We are social animals and interacting with each other is in our nature

Many a time, people feel awkward hugging anyone as they have come up in such an environment that doesn’t really encourage hugging. Prerna Sinha, founder, Maa of all Blogs, says, “Growing up I never embraced hugs and was awkward around them. Basically, my mom taught us not to hug. I think her reason being to make us differentiate good and bad touch or just eradicate the issue before it arises. So much so, that I was awkward hugging my parents, my siblings or even my friends. I think it changed drastically for me when I had my kids. Hugs came naturally to me, and there was a definite 360-degree change. I hug them several times a day. In fact, at home, we have a ‘family hug time’, initiated by my younger one. So, even if we are fighting we do a group hug in the night before everyone hits the bed. I feel hugs make the kids feel secure. For me, it just relieves all my stress and my younger one needs multiple of these as a reassurance. I have reached a stage where I can hug even a stranger and I have seen it definitely lifts everyone’s spirit. No matter who”

Teaching your kids about bad touch and good touch is certainly important. But it is to paid attention upon that it doesn’t make them feel awkward towards hugs. They should, after all, know every way to show their love and excitement.

There are times when children might feel a sense of disconnect with their parents. Hugs work better than words.

Hugs make them believe that you love them

There are times when children might feel a sense of disconnect with their parents. Hugs work better than words. Dipali Taneja, a grandmother of two, says, “Being held/hugged represents basic security for a child. Helps when he/she has been particularly unlovable. Essential soul food for any human being!”  There are also times, when a child feels a sort of fear that only hugs can help eliminate. Be it sorrow, ecstasy or excitement, hugs do wonders.

The best medicine for tears

The best thing you can do to calm a crying child is hugging him/her. Riti Prasad, author of Double Trouble Double Fun, says, “Even as adults, we find hugs deeply soul satisfying. This certainly is in-built in our make-up considering that the quickest way to calm a crying child is to hold it, hug and pat apart from the feed and tackle what is bothering them. The extent of this I could understand once I went back to work. When I would return home, the children would release their pent up frustrations of the day in the form of tears. At that time the only thing that worked on them was to go to a quiet room and hug them close, just the three of us with no one to share me with others or them in my case. Our ‘our’ time with hugs, kisses and tight squeezes. And it had to be real. If I was ever distracted they would sense my restless and in turn not calm down!”

Read More: Being A Single Parent Can Be Tough, Make Financial Planning Your BFF

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.