Cuddling your children not only shows them that you love them but it can also make them smarter, better behaved and more successful in life.
Now, this is something we can all easily get on board with!
How a mother’s love impacts a child’s brain
Hugging our children not only helps them develop in infancy, it can help boost their brain, improve their immune system and make them more empathetic towards others.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted brain scans on 92 kids who had had symptoms of depression.
The scans found that kids without depression and were regularly hugged by their parents had larger hippocampus, which is a brain structure that is essential to learning, memory and dealing with stress.
These kids hippocampus was as much as 10% larger than those who were emotionally neglected by their parents.
“This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings,” says lead author Joan Luby.
“I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.”
“For years, studies have underscored the importance of an early, nurturing environment for good, healthy out-comes for children.”
“Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10 percent larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”
Kids who receive a lot of affections are less depressed and anxious
Experts believe that when a child is happier they release the hormone Oxytocin, which makes them feel more relaxed.
When they are feeling less stressed it helps boosts their immune system and will also help your kids sleep better at night. Win win!
Another study, conducted by experts at the University of Notre Dame, analysed 600 adults and asked them questions about how they were raised.
They found that adults who had received a lot of affection in their childhood were overall less depressed and anxious.
“What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow the rest of their lives, so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect,” says Notre Dame Psychologist Darcia Narvaez.
“They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work.”
“If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress. We can see that in adulthood, that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self calming.”
It’s time to get cuddling, mama. As if we needed an excuse!
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