Children Need Your Hugs To Feel Like A Part Of The World

Children Need Your Hugs To Feel Like A Part Of The World
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 February, 2022

When a child arrives in this world, one of the first things that he or she is going to feel is the skin and heart of its mother giving it warmth, welcoming it to life, to feelings, to emotions, and to the value of feeling loved. We can offer many things to a baby: its daily food, a good crib, the best clothing, and a bedroom full of adequate visual stimulants. However, there is something essential that is going to favor its mental, physical, and emotional development in a monumental way: these are the hugs, the caresses, the voices calling it by its name…

Hugs are the roots that bond parents to their children. It is a great way to recognize them, to give them strength, affection, and security. Hugs are how we make them parts of ourselves and of our own world.

There are very discouraging statistics about the upbringing of babies in some orphanages around the world. When children do not receive hugs or caresses, this makes their crying less frequent because they understand that nobody is going to come check on them.

Their development tends to be slower. They do not feel as much curiosity towards the things around them. This is because do not feel secure enough to explore since they lack that connection to an affectionate adult who can serve as the go-between in their search for stimulation, sensations, etc.

It is necessary that we offer physical contact to our children on a daily basis. These hugs create neural connections, strengthen sensations, thoughts and feelings. Their fears fade away, their doubts, their uncertainties… It does not matter if they are two days or 12 years old. Bring them close to your warmth whenever you can (even if they are already at that age where they resist).

Hugs will make our children grow up healthy

Mother Sleeping With Child

That intimate closeness of skin to skin contact between a mother and her children in the first months of their lives offers sensory stimulation that not only favors their growth, but even reinforces their immune system and regulates their temperature and breathing.

These hugs and caresses are going to be the first language that children receive upon arriving in this world. It turns it into the language of the heart, of your heart, and engraves this universality in their minds forever.

Despite the fact that those first months are almost always very intimate in regards to the mother-child relationship, the role of their fathers is also vital, and physical contact is an excellent way to further reinforce the development and security of the child.

Hugs build personality

If there is a mother or father who does not place enough emphasis on hugs or caresses, it will end up having repercussions on the child’s personality.

Hugs are the most meaningful way to build a connection between parents and children. That affectionate gesture makes the child feel loved. A loved child is a secure child, a calm child who does not fear uncertainty, who feels recognized.

Parents are the first social contact that a child has in this world. If that first contact is cold, unequal, or even worse, aggressive, they will in turn distrust all other social contexts as they grow up.

Children need a stable and secure attachment during their younger years. This connection strengthens the bond, while at the same time making them feel recognized.

A child who feels recognized not only feels like a part of his or her family, but also like a part of the world. This will give them greater trust in themselves, as well as a better perception of their person and their abilities.

Woman Hugging World

Hugs relax and invite them to see the world

Have you ever thought about that? Babies spend the greater part of their day lying in their cribs in a horizontal position. As soon as an adult takes them in their arms, hugs them, and rocks them, they have the chance to see the world that lies before them, and they do it in the best way imaginable: calmly and feeling loved.

There is no more pleasurable instance than those days when we start to discover the world, wrapped in the arms of our mothers and fathers. Life amazed us with its countless shapes and colors, terrifying and exciting at the same time, while next to us was the beating heart of our loved ones.

You will also agree with us that there is nothing more calming and satisfying than a hug. If we need them as adults to reinforce that connection, calm the stress, or dispel our doubts, that need is all the more relevant in the case of children.

A baby’s cry will never be without reason. And sometimes, their tears are not the result of hunger, cold, or something bothering them at that moment. They also demand affection, they also need your hugs to dispel that universal fear that we all share: loneliness and abandonment. Do not be sparing on the hugs you give each day. They do not cost anything and they have the strength and intensity of an entire universe.

Father Hugging Child

Images courtesy of Amélie Thiebaud, Pascal Campion, Claudia Tremblay

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.