Hugs & Kisses Good Vital For Toddler Development

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Most parents find themselves naturally wanting to hug and kiss their toddlers. But outside of the fact that they want to show affection to their little one, there is science behind the fact that hugs and kisses are good developmentally for toddlers as well. As such, the more parents hug and kiss their toddlers, the more emotionally, cognitively, and physically better off they will be. Which shows just how vital hugs and kisses are for a toddler’s development.

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When young children are devoid of affection, according to The Gottman Institute, they present with being more agitated, aggressive, and hostile than their peers who received the hugs and kisses they needed as babies and toddlers. This is a trend that continues into adulthood with those who received affection as kids being less anxious and less likely to be depressed than those who were hugged and kissed by their parents with consistency. As such, the more affection that is showered on toddlers, the better off they not only are when young but as they age as well.

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RELATED: Research Finds That Hugging A Child Can Impact Their Intelligence

Here is why hugs and kisses are vital for a toddler’s development.

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Ways Hugs And Kisses Help With Development

While it just feels good to give and receive hugs and kisses, for toddlers, it is a necessity. This is because according to the Exchange Family Centertoddlers’ emotional, cognitive, and physical development are positively impacted by receiving hugs and kisses as well.

According to Parenting For Brain, the ways that hugs and kisses help toddlers’ development include:

  • Makes brains grow stronger
  • Makes bodies stronger and grow taller
  • Keeps bodies healthy and helps to fight off illnesses
  • Helps with self-regulation
  • Helps to keep stress levels low
  • Makes toddlers more optimistic
  • Boosts self-esteem

It is incredible what just the power of touch can do for toddlers. As such, give toddlers those hugs and kisses. Their development in all forms will thank parents for it.

Essential Hormones For Development Are Released

When hugs and kisses are given to toddlers, oxytocin and vasopressin are released into the body, according to the Medel. And while this may mean toddlers feel good and happy on a normal basis, it is when they are feeling upset, scared, or sad that the hugs and kisses make a big difference.

There are a lot of big emotions that toddlers deal with that they do not have the words to explain. When this happens, they can build up stress in their bodies which equates to high levels of cortisol, per publication. But, when hugs and kisses are given, oxytocin and vasopressin are released from the brain. And the happy hormones take over.

What this does, per the publication, is not only makes toddlers feel more secure but more resilient, according to Medel. And when this happens, eventually, toddlers will be able to deal with their big emotions on their own in a healthy manner from childhood and beyond.

More Affection Equals Healthier Toddlers

Toddlers are one of the populations that seem to get sick the most often as their immune systems are getting exposed to more germs through school and activities with other small children. Parents want to do whatever they can, obviously, to prevent this from happening. And one of the easiest things parents can do to make this happen is to give hugs and kisses frequently.


According to Healthline, hugs and kisses come frequently when people have a strong support system around them. When people have a strong support system around them, they are less likely to get sick. And when they do, the symptoms are less severe. As such, toddlers will be sick less often the more affection they receive.

Decrease Temper Tantrums With Hugs And Kisses

Toddlers have temper tantrums for a variety of reasons. For most, however, it boils down to being extremely frustrated. And when in the midst of a tantrum, toddlers may be feeling completely out of control as a result of the cortisol running through their bodies. But, with a bit of affection, that temper tantrum can be decreased exponentially. Something that benefits toddlers and parents equally.

According to Parents, when parents give their toddlers hugs and kisses in the midst of a temper tantrum, they automatically feel “secure.” This feeling of security, mixed with oxytocin being released begins to calm toddlers almost immediately. And when this happens, toddlers begin to self-regulate themselves. Something that is important for toddler development.

Hugs And Kisses Builds Bond Between Parents And Toddlers

The bond between parents and toddlers is important because the presence or lack of it directly impacts the social, emotional, and physical development of toddlers, according to Parenting NI. As such, the stronger the bond, the healthier the development toddlers have. And a great way to foster this is by giving them hugs and kisses.

With hugs and kisses themselves promoting toddler development and the bond between toddlers and parents promoting development, it just makes sense that one could not happen without the other. As such, if toddlers are open to being showered with hugs and kisses daily, parents should do it. After all, the teen years are not that far away and affection is not so easily received and given at that time.

Source: The Gottman Institute, Exchange Family Center, Medel, Parenting For Brain, Healthline, Parents, Parenting NI

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