You Gotta Give Hugs!

You Gotta Give Hugs!

You Gotta Give Hugs!

At the end of the 1940s, researchers initiated a long-term study of 379 kindergartners to learn what factors in raising children would impact their adult life.

Mothers were questioned regarding what they and their spouses did as parents, and about their children’s sociability.

To further the study, nearly four decades later, many of the grown up children were asked about details of their lives and were rated on having close friends, engaging in recreational activities with non-relatives, having a child, and staying married for at least 10 years. The study showed a direct, positive correlation between those children receiving the most warmth from parents, i.e. regular hugs, kisses and cuddling by one or both parents, and their scores as adults in social accomplishment.        

Parents Who Care

While other studies had indicated the importance of emotional warmth from parents, this was the first long-term study to show actual benefits to the child from such loving parenting.  Source: American Health, 11-94.

Research has confirmed that between birth and age three, complex changes occur in the brain that lay a critical foundation that will be helpful throughout the child's life. Dorothy Routh, former Director of the Center for Education Enhancement and Development at Florida State University noted, "Brain development is happening so rapidly in the first few years of life, and you can take advantage of that learning curve."

The brain builds pathways between cells throughout the first years of life. These pathways are called neurons. The manner in which the neurons are formed, and their strength depends on the contact and nurturing that children received in the very early years. Unfortunately, if a child receives little care or abuse, this directly affects the brain's growth and can have long-term, devastating consequences.  

Start Early

The Florida Starting Points Initiative (FSPI) indicates that babies are born with more than one hundred billion brain cells, called neurons, plenty to learn about nearly anything. Learning is making connections (synapses) among these cells. This continuous activity seems to peak between the ages of three and ten but continues throughout life.

You can easily learn a foreign language and speak like a native if you do it before age 10. Listening to Mozart and other classical music early in life makes you smarter by exercising the same neurons used for mathematics. A baby's emotional intelligence begins to be wired between 10 and 18 months and this emotional arousal is closely connected with long-term memory. However, prolonged exposure to severe stress can actually change the physiological development of a child's brain.  

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Jeff Davidson

Work-Life Balance Expert

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit or call 919-932-1996 for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars.

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