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Mom tries 12 Hugs A Day challenge with her kids … and reports back


Xavier Mouton Photographie / Unsplash

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 07/13/22

One mom set out to try hugging her five kids 12 times every day, and this is what she learned.

There is so much parenting advice out there it can often feel overwhelming. What if you focused on one small thing at a time and then evaluated whether it made a difference or not?

That’s exactly what one mom did recently, and she chose hugging her kids. She attempted to give each of her five kids 12 hugs per day, based on a challenge posed by Dr. Laura Markham, the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.

Markham may have gleaned the idea from the late renowned family therapist Virginia Satir, who once said: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

That might seem excessive — especially if you don’t tend to be very affectionate by nature. But research has shown that hugs and physical touch are extremely beneficial for both adults and kids — they boost oxytocin levels, strengthen the immune system, increase feelings of self-worth and belonging, and promote deeper connection.

Twelve hugs a day for each kid might be doable with one child, but with many children it may be a little tough. Erin, the mom in this video, explains how she made it work (or didn’t!) with her five, and what she learned from it as a parent.

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