How Often Do You Hug Your Children?

When you hug your children, it may not solve problems, but it does alleviate deep pain, bring comfort, and soothe sadness. Read more.
How Often Do You Hug Your Children?
Sharon Capeluto

Written and verified by the psychologist Sharon Capeluto.

Last update: 11 March, 2023

Hugs are powerful. They’re simple, yet deeply meaningful gestures that are often present in the best and worst moments of life. They’re one of the most effective ways to connect emotionally with another person and have multiple objectives. Through them, we express our feelings, we express thanks, we ask for forgiveness, we say goodbye, we congratulate, and we console. With that in mind, how often do you hug your children?

What we feel when hugging and being hugged is difficult to describe. It’s as magical as it is real. Of course, it represents one of the great signs of love between people who love each other and can provide a sense of protection, trust, and connection. The point is that, unfortunately, we go through life so fast that we often overlook some of our symbolic and affective needs.

No time to cuddle?

Time flies. Days go by almost unnoticed, wrapped up in a myriad of work, domestic, and family activities. Anxiety and immediacy are, without a doubt, two characteristic elements of the times we’re living in.

With the tiredness of the day on top of us, when we get home, we just want to feed the kids, put them to bed, and get some rest. Sometimes, this makes us forget about the emotional world, the one we all have and should take care of. Therefore, hugs become less and less common and are presented only in sensitive situations, such as the distress of a child; or in specific events, such as birthdays.

A mother hugging her toddler son.
Lack of time leads us to high levels of stress, and we often lose track of the important things in life, such as spending quality time with our children.

How much should we hug?

According to family psychotherapist Virginia Satir, we human beings need between 4 to 12 hugs a day. In her book Family Therapy, she points out that we need four hugs a day to survive, eight to sustain ourselves, and twelve to grow. Therefore, being generous when it comes to giving demonstrations of affection seems to be really important. As you can see, it’s very important that you make an effort to hug your child often.

Hugs between mothers and children

How often do you hug your child? Depending on your answer, this question will either make you uncomfortable, hurt, or proud.  Do you remember the last time you did it? Do you do it less than you’d like? Well, if that’s you, you should know that you’re not the only one who hugs her kids more sporadically than she’d like.

“While it’s true that giving or receiving a hug is a simple and everyday action, almost all of us are unaware of the dimension of fullness that it gives us”.

– Barrera Gutiérrez, M. I., Acaro Sánchez, D. P. –

We know that bodily contact– including caresses , kisses, and hugs–is an essential element in the bond between mother and child. Especially during the first years of life, it’s an element of survival. However, physical contact is also very important once our children grow up.

Although it’s to be expected that our children will become more independent and less affectionate as they grow older, the value of hugs is always relevant. Babies, children, adolescents, and adults all benefit from being wrapped in their mother’s arms.

A mother and son hugging.
When receiving a hug, our children feel sheltered and cared for, and at the same time, they obtain multiple other benefits.

Some benefits you provide when you hug your children

As we know, hugs do good. And those that are sincere bring numerous benefits, such as the following:

  • They reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • They contribute to good mood and general well-being.
  • They improve interpersonal bonds.
  • They provide security and confidence.
  • They favor the development of self-esteem.
  • They relax muscles and strengthen the immune system.

It has been proven that hugging releases dopamine and oxytocin, two hormones related to feelings of pleasure, happiness, and love.

“A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.”


Hug your children more

This experience is nothing more than a message of closeness and unconditionality. Even when accompanied by silence, hugs convey confidence and security. A child will relieve their anguish, anger, frustration, coldness, and fears by receiving a sincere hug from one of their primary caregivers.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Barrera Gutiérrez, M. I., Acaro Sánchez, D.P. (2017). El abrazo diario y la autoestima de los niños y niñas de 3 a 4 años de la Unidad Educativa Ambato. Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y de la Educación.Carrera de Parvularia.

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