Debra Hasbrook, M.Ed.
The signs are up everywhere, “Have you hugged your kid today?” Children need hugs and affection. However important hugs are, it can also cause issues if not done correctly. We need to protect our young children, and still provide the emotional support they need.
Children under three do not understand personal boundaries. When they need a hug they go for it with gusto. Because of their height little arms wrap around standing adults with sometimes interesting results. If this happens go down to her level and give her that hug.
A recent article suggests that the length of the hug for young children should be up to the child, and not the adult. When the adult pulls away before the child receives the support or comfort needed the child may feel rejected. Understanding a child’s need for a hug is part of being a respectful and responsive caregiver.
So hug those children every day, several times a day, to build attachment and support their emotional development.