Morning radio today has inspired this write up as they discussed the importance of hugging children in order to stimulate brain development.
As a parent we desire the feeling of pride about the parenting choices we make each day and since opinions on most parenting decisions and topics vary in extremes, we know that we can all agree that hugging our children is important and non-negotiable. I know we have all had that warm, “I want to squeeze you so tight” feeling for our children; I often think it feels good for my child but probably feels better for me when I’m sharing my squeezes.
————— I’ll be right back, I have to stimulate some brain development.
North Dakota State University includes touch as a part of the Keys To Enhancing Brain Development as it pertains to establishing a safe and secure environment. Touch is a fundamental and important source of security to a child. If you deprive an infant of touch, the body and brain will stop growing in a healthy manner. Touch is an infant’s lifeline to security, attachment and reassurance. Touch also is important for growing young children, such as toddlers or preschoolers, who need the reassurance that comes from a hug, touch on the hand or “high-five.” Children who do not receive caring, physical touches miss out on the affection that helps them form a sense of trust with others. 
The University of North Carolina has completed extensive research on the affects of hugging and human contact with loved ones. UNC research states the brain suffers when a child is not held and stimulated or when the brain does not receive the right information to grow and develop. Children who do not play and are rarely touched have brains that are 20% to 30% smaller than normal for their age. 
In addition to hugging our children, hugs for our partner are just as important for our health. A UNC article is quoted saying, “More intense and prolonged blood pressure responses to the stresses and strains of daily life create greater wear and tear on the body,” says study coauthor Karen Grewen, PhD. “Repeated episodes of positive contact and feelings of closeness may reduce the negative effects of life’s inevitable hassles on bodily systems.”
Hug research in 2005 shows that More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. This sounds like I fall right into the hug impact zone. Daddy, remember I need many hugs today. Physical touch is important for our health, we weren’t created to be alone; God gave us a partner and family in life to share love. We all want to feel loved and accepted ultimately feel the love of people who care. Hugs are good for our children, good for our health and good all around.
Today’s Instructions: Hug everyone you love. You may be helping their heart, stimulating their brain development and they may be giving you just what you need in return.
I have to run, I have many hugs to hand out today.
photo above courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
This photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
A hug delights and warms and charms,
that must be why God gave us arms.
~Author Unknown 
 Brotherson, Shawn. (2005) Keys to Enhancing Brain Development in Young Children. www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs611w.htm
 Wesley, Dennis, &Tyndall (2007). Quicknotes: Inclusion Resources for Early Childhood Professionals. http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~pfi/assets/pdfs/QN2_Sample.pdf
 Stratton, Kelly. (2011). Your Main Squeeze Can Help Your Heart. Prevention.com http://www.prevention.com/term/hugs-are-good-your-heart
 Light, Kathleen C., Grewen, Karen M., Amico, Janet A. (2005). More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. http://web.me.com/magsterz/page4/files/2005-light.pdf