Hug It Out! 10 Ways to Show Kids You Love ‘Em

father daughter hugging

Plenty of studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact between moms and their babies immediately after birth has a positive impact on newborns. But a parent’s loving touch is just as powerful as children grow up. We’re not talking about everyday physical contact, like zipping up a pair of fuzzy footie pajamas or buckling them in the car seat. We mean the kind of loving touch that lets your child know just how much you care—and gives them a feeling of emotional security in the world.

Don’t think that your kiddo is the only one receiving the benefits of hugging and positive physical touch, though—you’ll reap the rewards, too! From massages to cuddles, physical touch can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and stress, among other benefits. But the biggest plus? Regular physical touch helps you develop a strong emotional connection with your child.

Here are 10 ideas for giving your child the kind of love that will make their heart sing!

Photo by David Hume Kennerly
Photo by David Hume Kennerly

1. Give Your Kids Hugs—All Kinds of Hugs

Of course, good-morning and good-night hugs are always, well, good—but bear hugs, especially those given for no particular reason, let your child know they deserve big love.

2. Make up a Special Kiss Just for Them

Butterfly kisses, nose-rubbing kisses, and perky little goldfish kisses are all cute-as-a-button ways to smother them with some love.

3. Give a Foot Massage

Next time you’re cozied up on the couch together, grab those little tootsies and give ‘em a rub. It’s such a simple gesture, but we haven’t met any child who doesn’t love a foot rub. (And if you’re lucky, they’ll return the favor.)

4. Use Your Lap

One of the cuddliest places in the world to a child is your lap. While you’re reading or watching a show, pull them onto your lap to get warm and cozy together.

5. Have Fun Getting from Point A to Point B

Piggyback rides to bed make the transition way more fun, as does the wheelbarrow walk.

6. Hold Hands when You’re Walking

It’s so simple, but holding hands lets them know that you care. And even better, it keeps them close by your side.

7. Play with Their Hair

Brush their hair, braid it, put crazy clips in it—they’ll dig the extra attention and their new hairstyle!

8. Play Contact Sports

Got a rough-and-tumble kid with a lot of energy? The best way to help them get it all out is by matching their energy with some of your own. Tackle them, wrestle on the floor, roughhouse, have a pillow fight, and above all—laugh!

Photo by David Hume Kennerly
Photo by David Hume Kennerly

9. Make up a Special Greeting

Fist bumps, high fives, and secret greetings that only you and your child know about let them know they’re super special to Mom or Dad.

10. Play a Game of “Back Drawing”

Write letters, numbers, or shapes on their back with your finger and have them guess what you drew. (“I love you” is always a good one to go with!)

Meet Kim and Ann.

Certified Parent Educators and Super Moms Kim DeMarchi and Ann DeWitt share a love for helping families create deeper connections, foster respect, and (of course) have a heckuva lot of fun. (Fun and laughter are key ingredients in family life, they’ll both tell you!) DeMarchi holds a Master of Education; DeWitt earned her Master in Clinical Psychology. They’ve been penning Positive Parenting articles for KinderCare’s wonderful families since 2015. Find them online at EmpoweredParenting.com and DeWittCounseling.com.


Read more articles by Kim and Ann.

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