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The Importance of Hugs for Your Children

Anecdotally, most of us know that hugging our children is a wonderful way to soothe, nurture, and affirm our little ones.  There are also physiological benefits for our children.

What does a hug do to/for the brain and body?

When a parent hugs his/her child, the hug stimulates the child’s brain to produce oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.  This tends to increase the child’s feelings of contentment, bolster the child’s immune system, decrease the child’s feelings of anxiety, decrease the child’s perception of his/her stress and pain level, moderate the child’s blood sugar level and heart rate, and decrease the child’s cortisol level (this hormone is responsible for high blood pressure and heart disease).

How long does a hug need to last to be effective?

Even a brief hug can be beneficial.  Experts theorize that hugs of at least 10 seconds can render many of the benefits listed above; hugs of at least 20 seconds (paired with 10 minutes of hand-holding) have been shown to be even more likely to generate the benefits listed above.

How many hugs per day are important?

It is believed that eight hugs daily are important for day-to-day well being.


From the love we convey to the physiological benefits, hugging our children is, without a doubt, a very enjoyable parenting essential.

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