Why Cuddling Counts – A Lot!
Release the “love hormone” in you and your child.
So you’re not really the cuddly type? You’re not crazy about the idea of cuddling or hugging your child very often? Well, maybe you want to think about making the extra effort. Here’s why.
Cuddling releases oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone,” and this contributes to our feelings of comfort and calm. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. It even reduces physical pain. When babies are cuddled, the physical discomfort they may be experiencing from teething, congestion, or digestive problems is reduced and they feel comforted by the gentle, nurturing touch of the person who is cuddling them.
Cuddling makes children smarter, actually increasing their ability to learn. In the brain, the hippocampus which plays an important role in memory and spatial intelligence, is 10% larger in children whose mothers give nurturing affection than in children of less nurturing mothers.
Cuddling produces happier children, maybe because it gives a very important message that we all need: “I’m here. I’m with you. I love you.”
Cuddling increases parent-child bonding and brings you closer together. With a closer relationship, your child knows that he or she can depend on you more than on some friends who don’t have their best interests at heart.
Cuddling just plain feels good, for you and for your child. Moreover, it works at all ages to give us a sense of security and reassurance that we are loved.
So, even if cuddling is hard for you, do it and do it as often as you can. Your child needs it and so do you. The affection is good for both of you.