The Power of the Hug


It’s nearing the end of another school year. I feel the excitement of a new beginning. The sun is finally shining, the flowers are in bloom, and the public parks are bubbling over with children happy to be playing outside in lighter clothes. The end of spring is a time when we’re pushing through the final days of the school year, making our summer plans, and reassessing what worked over the past year.

Reflection is an important time for us mothers, and this time of year is a wonderful reminder for us to “stop and smell the roses.” Whatever our situations, we can be thankful for what worked, and we can learn from what didn’t.

As my family moves into summer, I think about what worked and remember the little things that made winter so great: Running outside on Christmas Day without a hat and gloves because it was so uncharacteristically warm. Ice skating at Portsmouth’s Puddle Duck Pond with friends until the stars came out. Visiting the remarkable Ice Castles in Lincoln to appreciate art in a different way. Driving up into the White Mountains just because. I think about all the holiday parties, birthdays, school events, and many family fun days that brought so many smiles to my son’s sweet face. And this year, I also think about hugs…

Every other week, I volunteer in my son’s kindergarten class. Every time I go, there is one boy who, the second I walk in, rushes over and gives me a hug. He then smiles and sits back down to continue his work as if nothing happened. At first I thought it was cute, and other mom friends of mine who also volunteer shared similar “hug stories” in their classrooms. But as time went on, I wondered more about our children hugging and why.

Recently, my son attended a friend’s birthday party. While I was talking with some other parents, someone tapped my shoulder. When I turned around, it was the boy from my son’s class smiling at me. And guess what. He gave me a hug. Being outside the classroom, this really made me stop and reflect on the power of hugs.


It has been said that a hug lasting longer than 10 seconds can relieve stress in adults. Since young children are roughly a third of our sizes, I wonder if the same can be said about hugs and children if we perhaps reduce the 10 seconds by a third. Could a three-second hug relieve stress in children and promote the release of certain feel-good chemicals in their bodies?

Maybe that’s why children freely hug other children, too. You see them embrace when greeting, while playing, and when saying goodbye. And when children throw tantrums, one of the best things a parent can do is keep quiet and ask for the child’s permission to give a hug.

Early summer’s spontaneity makes me think about the spontaneity of a hug. As I watch the flowers grow, I take this hug reflection with me as a reminder that we are always in the process of helping to nurture one another’s children, whether we know it consciously or not. Children are so simple. They give and want only love in return. They have all the time in the world to hug, and just like we may never know the power of a smile that might brighten a stranger’s day, we may never know the power of a simple hug for a child.

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Hello, I’m Stephanie! I grew up climbing trees and chasing fireflies here in NH, and I love watching my son Rohan do the same! I adore the Seacoast’s close-knit community and constant stream of wholesome family activities, and I feel grateful to be here. I have a Master’s in English Education and have taught both at home and abroad. Writing has been a quiet passion of mine since childhood, and I admire anyone who has the courage to put pen to paper and express themselves. My husband and I are from different cultures, so ours is a multicultural, bilingual home. We divide our time and hearts to family both in the U.S. and India, trying to give our son the best of both worlds. It isn’t always easy balancing here and there, but I grew up watching my European parents do the same. They taught me to be curious, appreciative, and respectful when merging two cultures, because you find more silver linings than roadblocks. This inspires me to be a better mother every day.


  1. Great thoughts! Thank you for sharing this and reminding everyone to take a few seconds (even when they feel busy) and hug your kids : )

  2. Great thoughts! I totally agree! Doing my best to get in as many hugs as I can with my boys for many reasons

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