Cuddling is a way to show love and affection to our children and loved ones. However, did you know it has numerous health benefits too? Studies have shown that people who grew up being cuddled end up being more successful than people who were neglected as children. Cuddling has more of an impact on your child’s development than you think!

Let’s take a closer look at why cuddling is so good for both parent and child.


1. Cuddling Affects Brain Size

Neurologists released a shocking comparison of two brain scans several years ago. One was a brain scan of a 3-year-old—this one was normally-sized and contained few dark, fuzzy spots. The other was a brain scan of another 3-year-old, this time a 3-year-old that suffered extreme neglect from their mother. The latter was significantly smaller and also had more prominent dark and fuzzy spots—a sign that the brain is unhealthy.

What we can deduce from this image is that love and support, especially during the early developmental stages, are super important for brain development. This is probably why many children who suffer from abuse and neglect during their childhoods end up having problems in their later years. They might have problems in school, difficulties socializing, and many more.


2. Cuddling Makes Kids More Empathetic

Neglected children might also experience trouble empathizing with others. Since they do not experience being cuddled by their parents or soothed when they’re having negative feelings, they might not know how to extend empathy to other people as well. For our children to know how to love others, we must give them first-hand experience first.

Based on scientific research, cuddling makes our children not just intellectually smart, but also emotionally smart!


3. Cuddling Increases Learning Capacity

The differences in brain size and capacity become more notable as the children grow up. According to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, children who have been nurtured since they were young have a larger hippocampus. This part of the brain is crucial for learning and memory skills. It also has a role in stress management, helping these kids develop critical thinking skills under pressure.


4. Cuddling Strengthens Your Immune System

Being sick as a child was always a fun experience. Sure, I was burning up and dealing with a runny nose, but getting to go home from school, snuggling under the blankets, and having someone there to take care of me and feed me was pretty awesome too. Being sick isn’t that bad as long as you have someone you love taking care of you and cuddling your achiness away.

But did you know cuddling actually strengthens your immune system? Like, for real? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that children who get held and are supported emotionally more often are less likely to develop illnesses and infections.


5. Cuddling Reduces Stress

Have you ever felt sad, angry, or worried about something and then felt loads better after a nice hug? Whether it’s a family member, a partner, or a pet, getting a hug when you need comfort makes everything not so bad after all.

That’s because hugging leads to a decrease in heart rate. It also reduces the amount of cortisol and norepinephrine, which are stress hormones in the body. In simpler terms, hugging and cuddling make you relax and calm down. They offer some reprieve in this crazy roller coaster called life!


6. Cuddling Makes You Happier

Last but certainly not least—cuddling makes you and your children happier. Cuddling with someone you love who you know loves you back is such a happy bonding experience! Aside from reducing stress hormones in the body, cuddling releases happy hormones such as oxytocin.

And all of the other things that we mentioned above also make us happy. Seeing our children enjoy life stress-free, be relatively healthy, do well in school, and make friends with others remind us of why we wanted kids in the first place. Love really does go a long way!