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Hugs make us feel good, but how many hugs do you need a day?  What are the benefits of hugging and how long and how often should we hug our child? Even though I could hug my kids all day long, let’s take a look at what science says.

pin for hugging benefits

Let me start by saying, I love to hug my kids. (I lie down with them at night just for a little extra one on one time, too.) But besides just wanting to show affection, there are more benefits to giving someone a hug.

Benefits of Hugging

There are SO many benefits to hugging!

According to Mail Online: “The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and is connected to a number of organs, including the heart.

It is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.”

Guess what? Even a 10-second hug a day can significantly improve your health.

Shekar Raman, MD told Huff Post:  “A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy… And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others — on even the smallest physical level — the happier you’ll be.”

How Many Hugs Do You Need A Day?

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak recommends at least eight hugs a day to be happier and enjoy better relationships.

Psychotherapist Virginia Satir said: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

How Long Should I Be Hugging my Child?

Science says to hug your child for 15 seconds at a time. Or more!

According to “A 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. This makes sense since hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

75 percent of people said they wanted more hugs from friends & family.

Why not? It even reduces stress. Hugs encourage your body to release oxytocin which is released by the pituitary gland to help you handle stress.

science says hug your kids for 15 seconds a day

Oftentimes, when I hug them, I remind them that “hugging is good for you and it makes us happy.”  Then I always ask… “Can I hold you just a little longer?” And they always say yes. ♥

Today, starting now, hug your kids for 15 seconds.  Aim for at least four hugs today.

Some great ways to start doing this are always by giving out good morning hugs and good night hugs. Then you have twice a day where you can say “I need a hug”.  (Trust me – you’ll quickly find yourself hugging your kids much much more!!)

You might have a one week old or a 17-year-old… hug them either way. Don’t stop just because your kids are older.

Spend time with them every day… hug them often.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Definitely, we can spread more love by hugging and kissing our children. Parents who are more busy with their work and feel stressed. A hug can quickly relief the stress out the body.

    PS: Next time, I will set a reminder for 15 seconds every time I want to hug a child.

  2. All hugs are good hugs but you are right a longer hug is special and really gives it time to sink in that you mean it and allows you to present in the moment. Great advice!