Most parents love snuggling with their babies but they feel like at a certain age kids may be too old for “cuddle time”. This is not the case! Hugging is SO beneficial for not just kids, but humans in general. Several research studies seem to confirm that cuddling your children is not only pleasurable for both of you, but can result in happier, healthier, more curious kids with bigger brains!
A study cited in a NY Times article states that McGill University neurologist, Michael Meaney, discovered that his rats who licked and groomed their babies frequently, produced rats who figured out mazes more quickly than the rats whose mothers were less attentive. In addition, those rats were more curious and social and even lived longer than the other rats. Meaney feels like this animal behavior carries over well to humans who also nurture their children with attentiveness and snuggling.
Another study in 2012 compared brain scans of children who were loved and nurtured by their parents with scans of children who were neglected. They were amazed to find a large difference in the brain scans of these 2-3 year olds, showing that in the first few years of life a child’s brain development relies heavily on nurturing by his parents. You can view pictures of the brain scans and read more about this fascinating study here.
In other words, cuddling with your infants and young children is highly beneficial for their health and brain development.
What are the top benefits of cuddling?
- Bigger brain size & smarter kids
- It’s fun for you & your child
- It makes kids comfortable with receiving and showing affection toward others
- It increases good chemicals in the brain which in turn lower stress, promote healing, lower blood pressure and make us feel happy
- It’s a way to communicate love and affection without words
- It can be good exercise, rocking, carrying and holding your kids
- It promotes bonding, saying to your child “I’ll always be here for you”
- Kids and parents alike NEED it
So get hugging!