There are a few things that I have learned over the years of being a mom of three boys (who are now all teenagers). But the tiny change that by far made the biggest difference in our family was what I am sharing today. This is my favorite parenting tip. It is super simple change, but has completely changed the relationship I have with my kids.
BEING A GOOD PARENT: THE IMPORTANCE OF HUGGING
This time of year is filled with thoughts of new year’s resolutions, but honestly…I just want to be the best mom for my kids.
It is my belief that we are good parents.
Moms, dads, grandparents & care-givers that care about our kids and are trying the best we know how to make their life great.
I love the quote:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
In attempt to “knowing better”, it is so important for us to join together and share what we have learned (often the hard way)!
That is what this series is all about. Sharing what I have learned. I hope that you will use the comments to share tips and tricks gleaned along YOUR journey.
My favorite tip of all time…
THE OFFICIAL “HOW MANY HUGS WE NEED A DAY” PILLOW
I was pregnant with my third child. One of the gifts I got at this really beautiful baby shower (one of my neighbors threw for me) was a needle point pillow.
And the weird thing is I don’t even know where this pillow is today…does that make me a really bad mom?
Yep, I’ve told this story, I don’t know, maybe a hundred times since then and I don’t even know where the pillow is!
So, okay, there’s your first clue who you’re working with.
But anyway, the pillow said: KIDS NEED 17 HUGS A DAY
It is really official when it is in needlepoint on a pillow!
At this point in my life I already had a toddler and a preschooler.
The words on that pillow kinda stopped me in my tracks.
Seventeen hugs a day!
That’s a LOT!
And my kids are…boys.
And I am not a touchy feely person.
I hit me in the face.
I started thinking…what if this is true?
And decided to move forward like it was.
I’m gonna try it.
The Power of Hugs: Take the 17 Hugs a Day Challenge
My oldest had all sorts of sensory issues and so to get one hug in a day was a miracle, but what I found when I started trying is that our relationship changed in a really fun and playful way.
I started trying to get 17 hugs a day from my kids and a beautiful thing about 17 hugs a day is lets say I only got to three hugs one day…that might have been three more than I would have gotten without the goal.
If you try this and you are an over-achiever, I want you to stretch for 17 hugs a day but give yourself a break if you “fail” and only get three, or five, or 12, or 16!
Every hug is a victory.
If you try this and you are already a huggy person, you’re gonna be like 17? Piece of cake.
If you try this and you are not a huggy person (like me), then one really fun way to get started is to sneak this in–like a super secret ninja mom way. Go up and hug your kid after this video and just say “one” without explanation. Then later in the day when you hug again, say “two”. Keep going with three, four, five and beyond just hugging and saying the number.
At some point they are going to get curious!
You know your kid and how this is gonna play out and how you can playfully enlist their help with this goal.
With my kids, I told them, “I have a goal of hugging you 17 times a day!”
It got really frantic and fun in our house toward the end of the day. They knew I had to get three more hugs and they start hiding. It ends up to be a big chase through the house!
And I might be cheating a little if I corner one of them and finish off the hugs I need for the day all at once.
And they might protest and giggle.
Just have fun with it.
Start thinking about that 17 hugs a day and how you’re gonna get those with your kids.
Yay, go hug, hug, hug!
Importance of Hugging: 17 Hugs a Day Worksheet
I thought it would be fun to come up with some sort of reminder (&/or way to record your hugs).
There are a ton of ways to use this. Here are some ideas:
- Cut out the squares and hide them all over the house. Whoever finds one has to go collect on a hug within a certain amount of time.
- Post it on the fridge and enlist the entire family to record how the 17 hugs a day goal is going.
- Cut out 2 square “books” – one side would have the number 17 and the other the 17 symbols. Put it in your pocket (or your child’s pocket) and check off each hug during the day.
Download & print the 17 hugs worksheet…can we just call it a playsheet? – 17 HUGS A DAY
30 Day Bestest, Funnest Mom Challenge Calendar
If you would like to follow along at home, here is a printable calendar of the things we will be talking about:
You can use it as a mini-journal to remind yourself about the main takeaway for YOUR family on each day. Each topic we cover is broken down into symbols:
- Heart = Love
- Duck = Play
- Clock = Time & Time Management
- Star = Kid & Kid Behavior
- Flower = Mom & Mom Behavior
Watch Kids Activities Blog each day in January to see each day’s challenge. Believe me, small changes can add up to BIG results.
Download & print your copy now: 30 DAY CHALLENGE CALENDAR
What is YOUR favorite parenting tip/trick?
How many hugs do I need a day?
There has been loose research on how many hugs a day a person needs and the answers have varied drastically from 4-12. My theory of 17 hugs a day pushes the boundaries of the number of hugs you can actually get in a day. Since there doesn’t seem to be harm in hugging…isn’t more better?
What do hugs mean?
A hug is a form of endearment and connection to another person.
Why are hugs so powerful?
Humans need other humans and the power of touch can not be underestimated.
“Hugging and other forms of nonsexual touching cause your brain to release oxytocin, known as the “bonding hormone.” This stimulates the release of other feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, while reducing stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine.”
–Dignity Health, The Power of Human Touch ()
What happens if you don’t get hugs?
Children can suffer from what is known as “touch starvation” when they don’t get enough human touch including hugs. This lack of hugs and positive human touch can cause stress, depression and even physical problems like failure to thrive.
What happens when you hug someone for 20 seconds?
Trying a 20 second hug is a fun exercise that makes a hug “super sized”! You get all the benefits of hugging exponentially!
What are the benefits of hugging?
1. Hugging boosts oxytocin levels which is an important hormone associated with bonding, trust and attachment.
2. Hugging increases feelings of well-being, makes you feel happy and can reduce stress by reducing hormones like cortisol which make you feel stressed out!
3. Hugging helps your mood.
4. Hugging can help lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate which makes you feel more relaxed.
5. Hugging can make you feel more connected to another person and increase a sense of unity.
6. Hugging helps self-esteem because it reminds us that we are valuable to other people.
7. A hug can help decrease pain! Research has shown that the hormones released when hugging can actually help reduce pain and discomfort!
8. A hug helps you sleep better.
9. Hugs can help you strengthen your immune system.