Study reveals how much you should be hugging your kids and how it can make them smarter

Not that long ago, parents were advised that being overly affectionate or hugging or holding their babies would ‘spoil them’.

Thankfully, that attitude is firmly in the past where it belongs! In fact, most parenting experts all agree you CAN’T hug your child too much.

You can’t hug your child too much, study confirms

Human touch is healing, and a warm embrace from a loved one is reassuring whatever your age.

A recent study found that cuddling or just even touching your baby – early and often – has HUGE benefits for your little one, especially when it comes to brain development. Especially for premature babies.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio observed 125 premature and full-term infants.

They found that a gentle touch is the main ways infants learn to feel safe and secure, especially during times of distress.

When babies are born early and admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) they experience less touch than other babies do.

However, being held or touched by their parents during painful procedures such as a heel prick, immunisations or breathing tubes being inserted, can help elevate pain and promote a faster recovery.

Study author Dr. Nathalie Maitre says touch matters and is looking into ways to provide positive touch in the NICU.

mum hugging newborn sleepling

“Making sure that preterm babies receive positive, supportive touch such as skin-to-skin care by parents is essential to help their brains respond to gentle touch in ways similar to those of babies who experienced an entire pregnancy inside their mother’s womb,” she says.

 “When parents cannot do this, hospitals may want to consider occupational and physical therapists to provide a carefully planned touch experience, sometimes missing from a hospital setting.”

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Smarter babies need less sleep and wake up through the night, claim experts

CUDDLING your kids make them SMARTER, better behaved and sleep through the night

Other studies show that cuddling your children not only shows them that you love them but it can also make them smarter, better behaved and more successful in life!

Hugging our children not only helps them develop in infancy, it can help boost their brain, improve their immune system and make them more empathetic towards others.

CUDDLING your kids make them SMARTER, better behaved and more SUCCESSFUL in life!

How a mother’s love impacts a child’s brain

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted brain scans on 92 kids who had had symptoms of depression.

The scans found that kids without depression and were regularly hugged by their parents had larger hippocampus, which is a brain structure that is essential to learning, memory and dealing with stress.

CUDDLING your kids make them SMARTER, better behaved and more SUCCESSFUL in life!

These kids hippocampus was as much as 10% larger than those who were emotionally neglected by their parents.

“This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings,” says lead author Joan Luby.

“I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.

“For years, studies have underscored the importance of an early, nurturing environment for good, healthy out-comes for children.

“Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10 percent larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”

CUDDLING your kids make them SMARTER, better behaved and more SUCCESSFUL in life!

Kids who receive a lot of affections are less depressed and anxious

Experts believe that when a child is happier they release the hormone Oxytocin, which makes them feel more relaxed.

When they are feeling less stressed it helps boosts their immune system and will also help your kids sleep better at night. Win win!

CUDDLING your kids make them SMARTER, better behaved and more SUCCESSFUL in life!

Another study, conducted by experts at the University of Notre Dame, analysed 600 adults and asked them questions about how they were raised.

And they found that adults who had received a lot of affection in their childhood were overall less depressed and anxious.

“What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow the rest of their lives, so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect,” says Notre Dame Psychologist Darcia Narvaez.

“They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work.

“If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress. We can see that in adulthood, that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self calming.”

It’s time to get cuddling, mama. As if we needed an excuse!

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