Are Hugs Worth It?

April 20, 2022

As parents, hugs are non-negotiable. Hugs can stop tears, end a crying spell and repair arguments. Things like hugs and verbal reassurances do more than curb hard emotions, they provide pathways for your children to regulate their emotions as they grow older. Things like hugs, are perfect occurrences of ‘co-regulation’. When children are young, they lack the ability to independently assess, react and respond to tough situations. Often resulting in tantrums and outbursts. As adults, as we share sympathy, we are not just modelling how to manage a tough time but also lending our ability to regulate; which helps our children start to calm down.

In our Tiny Hoppers program, teachers are modelling co-regulation almost every second of the day. It is one of the ways a teacher can bond with so many children at the same time. In our classrooms, you can hear the buzz of co-regulation when you hear a teacher say, “you sound frustrated, I see you trying to fit your pieces of Legos together but they seem stuck, can I help you?” The tone of the co-regulator is important. When a child is in a stressful emotional state, lending a helping hand with a calm tone can most likely help calm a child. This interaction provides a great foundation for trust, reassurance and comfort. Especially when children are away from their families while they are in school.

As parents, sometimes it seems like a hug is just a simple gesture. But now you know that actions like a hug builds deeper connections and learning opportunities in our relationships with our children.

Your partner-in-learning,
Fiona Abbas-Lee

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