The Positive Effect of Hugs

by T.S. Bradshaw

When we least expect it, simple things can make a world of difference in our young learner’s lives. On a down day, the sight of a butterfly could lift their spirits. On a not so lucky day, the touch of a lady bug could make them feel lucky as ever. If butterflies and lady bugs can have such a positive effect on children’s behavior, what about a hug? What effect does a hug have on children’s behavior and development? Most people would say hugs simply make children happy.


Research shows that hugs have more positive effects on children and adults than just feelings of happiness. Consider this:

Hugs Help Them Overcome Fear
It’s the first day of school and your little learner has some fear about meeting his or her new teacher, classmates, and classroom. Giving a hug coupled with a few calming breaths just might help ease “The First Day Fears.” By the way, giving hugs for the first full week wouldn’t hurt either. Hugs are relatively inexpensive and apparently very healthy.

Hugs Build Self Esteem
It’s the day of the class play and your little learner is not so confident about saying a few words as a wild turkey in front of an audience. Giving a hug coupled with a few encouraging words and a quick line rehearsal just might help build confidence and self-esteem.

Hugs Ease Tension
It’s bedtime, the most dreaded time of the day for most kids, and of course, your little learner wants to stay up until the rooster’s call. You are not in favor of this idea at all. Your little one is aware of this and begins to go into tantrum mode. Giving a tight hug coupled with reading their favorite story or singing their favorite song may help ease a terrible tantrum before bed.

Hugs Positively Affect Children’s Language Skills and IQ
According to Intelligence Quotient Development in Children on, “A nurturing yet stimulating environment is always helpful in boosting a child’s intellectual capabilities. Affection is important, so make sure your child gets plenty of hugs and kisses and hears positive and encouraging words from you.”

Sometimes we get caught up teaching, parenting, providing, and protecting our children that we forget to hug them. If there’s one thing your child or student may need from you to help modify their behavior or boost their IQ, it may just be something as simple as a hug.

So remember to hug your children often and love them responsibly.
The positive effects of a hug could change the course of the day for you both when you least expect it.

What has been your experience with hugs and their effect on children’s or students’ development and behavior?

T.S. Bradshaw is the author and illustrator of the fun, educational children’s books, “The Goodees” and “Goodees Deux.” Her books have been read and enjoyed by young learners within schools in the United States, Costa Rica and West Africa. Her 15 years of work in education has helped students within urban, suburban, and international school settings. She is a certified elementary school teacher, principal, and educational motivational speaker. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and three children. She is currently working on her third book, “Be A Goodee, Not A Bully” and contributes to The Goodees Blog.


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