For many loving families, any and every day may be a day for showing affection, appreciation, and love. In the springtime and summertime, though, there are designated days for celebrating family members! April gives us National Siblings Day, and May gives us Mother’s Day. Father’s Day follows in June, and then there’s Grandparents’ Day at the end of summer in September. But have you heard of Global Hug Your Kids Day? This absolutely huggable holiday takes place on the third Monday in July. It’s a global day for celebrating and showing affection between children and parents. At Pure Health Center, we offer counseling and services that help families achieve the meaningful relationships and happy homes they deserve. We’re dedicated to identifying and sharing comfortable, healthy ways parents and children can get closer. Consensual, positive touch and affection can bring families together. Consider the reasons to celebrate Global Hug Your Kids Day discussed in this blog, as a pure, positive touch can be equally beneficial for adults and children.
Global Hug Your Kids Day celebrates hugs as ways for parents to show affection for the little loves in their lives. Hugs are displays of comfort, trust, and safety. Not only can they be reassuring and promote happiness, but they can also be advantageous to wellness in the following ways:
Hugs are natural. They give us a feeling of care and familiarity that makes it instinctual to hug our children, parents, siblings, partners, and friends. This feeling helps parents and guardians bond with their newborns. This feeling moves us to embrace the people we care about after a loss and after a victory. Whether we’re excited, happy, stressed, or trying to give and receive support, the action remains the same—it’s universally comforting.
Hugs make us feel closer to those we embrace because wanted affection releases oxytocin, the “love hormone” or the “cuddle chemical.” Not only does this help nurture feelings of connectedness, but it also reduces blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. In essence, giving your child a bear hug is an act that’s just as scientific as it is sweet. It’s why cuddling the right person at the right time is a natural mood-booster. Just a few seconds of snuggling your little one in your arms can make your heart and brain calm down after a stressful event. Likewise, it probably feels just as good to them to be held tightly by someone they love, trust, and look up to.
Touch is a powerful sensation. It’s fundamental to the human experience. Its profoundness is why a gentle, reassuring squeeze that says ‘I see you’ or ‘you’ll be okay’ is just as impactful as a cold, half-hearted handshake between two people whose relationship is at an impasse. Warm, consensual touches can strengthen connections and communication. Hugging your child on Global Hug Your Kids Day and every day can convey many things like, ‘It’s okay,’ ‘I’m proud of you,’ and, of course, ‘I love you.’ When hugs and affection come from the right person at the right moment, we may not even have to guess the words. We know what this warm embrace means and feel closer, more relaxed, and better understood.
When celebrating love and affection on Global Hug Your Kids Day, consider setting boundaries with your children regarding appropriate uses of touch. Conversations about body autonomy and consent with your children encourage them to be safe when receiving and giving affection. Teach children, adolescents, and teens that they’re in control of their bodies. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t hug a family member or friend who expects a show of affection upon meeting. They shouldn’t be forced to hug or touch anyone they don’t want to. Nor should they be made to accept unwanted touches.
Discussing giving and asking permission before hugs and physical contact can be challenging. It can be uncomfortable and disheartening to differentiate between good and bad touches. Licensed mental health professionals can help you get started. At Pure Health Center, our counselors provide a safe space for parents and their children to discuss what it means to show affection. Our experienced therapists know how to help clients celebrate the beauty, comfort, and safety of hugging. Contact us today for guidance on discussing appropriate affection with your children and confidently and comfortably showing them love on Global Hug Your Kids Day.