Did you know that January 21st was National Hugging Day? That’s right, a whole day dedicated to hugging. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to refresh everyone on the importance of hugs. It might sound silly, but experts agree that hugs are beneficial to our overall wellbeing, and that includes the wellbeing of our kids. Keep reading to find out if you and your kids are getting enough hugs every day.

According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Twelve hugs might seem like a lot to most of us. Hugs provide so many benefits to kids, which we’ll talk about below. Once you see what a hug can do in your child’s life, you’ll be making sure they get twelve every day!

How Hugs Benefit Children

Hugs Develop the Brain
That might sound crazy, but it’s true. According to Exchange Family Center, kids who get more hugs have more developed brains. This is because touch is the first sense to develop, so hugs stimulate growing brains and encourage normal development.

Hugs Strengthen Emotional Bonds
When you regularly hug your child, trust grows and your relationship strengthens. As your child grows and learns that they are safe with you, hugs remind them that you will take care of them and protect them.

Hugs Produce a Calming Effect
There’s something relaxing about being hugged by someone we love, whether that’s a parent, spouse, or close friend. This is no different for children. One study showed that hugs from a parent calm infants’ heartrates and even turn “fussy moods into good ones.” This makes sense, because hugging increases levels of oxytocin, which promote feelings of happiness. Hugs are powerful!

Hugs Promote Physical Growth
Studies have shown that children who received adequate physical affection and hugs follow a healthier pattern of growth, compared to those who did not receive enough physical affection. Remember, Satir says that the minimum amount of huge per day is four, but the ideal amount is twelve.

There are so many more benefits of hugging your child. And not only will the hugs benefit your child; they’ll benefit you as well!