23 November 2012, by Kelvin Ang
All those hugs and kisses you give your kid when he/she waves goodbye at school, grazes his/her knee, or he/she gets out of bed in the morning may be even more beneficial than you thought.
Studies have shown that the brains of such early-nurtured kids have a larger hippocampus. Erm, hippo-cam-what? Well, to put it simply – the hippocampus is a major component of the brain and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation.
What this essentially means is that a larger hippocampus may make it easier for kids to learn, improve their memory, and even respond to stress.
Child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University conducted brain scans on children who had participated in an earlier study as preschoolers. The kids with the most nurturing parents ended up with a hippocampus 10 percent larger than the other children.
And the benefits of hugs doesn’t stop there. In the quick research (read 15 minutes) that I did, I learned that hugging releases endorphin and serotonin into the blood stream which cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness, lowers blood pressure and prolongs life. And in case you think that hugs only work best for kids – hugs also helps one relax the muscles and stretch them out, especially the facial muscles, erasing age lines and slowing the ageing process!
Which leads me to the question:
Touch is so important because it helps establish rapport and a feeling of connection. It provides the child with signals of safety and encourages healthy, emotional and physical development. Most importantly, hugging helps build the emotional connection between parent and child. So in this way, children that are loved through an act of touch learn the tools of healthy emotional experiences.
We always make it a point to give Ash a hug every morning before we drop him off at school. In fact, the hug has been so deeply ingrained that when we forgot to give him a hug one morning, he thought he had done something wrong!
So I ask you again –
Hugs are fun, free and should be given away. Go on, give your kids a big ONE today!