It warms our hearts that this year we can once again do a lot more hugging of our friends & families, if we want to! This time last year we were living in lockdown in the UK, & not being with loved ones was one of the biggest hardships. Hugs can be amazingly good for us – as well as simply being enjoyable, they can help to reduce stress, protect against illness, & reduce pain & anxiety.
Children who have experienced relational trauma can sometimes struggle to give or receive comforting hugs. As parents & carers, you can help your child learn that it can be safe and enjoyable to experience hugs and nurturing touch. Giving clear messages about respecting personal boundaries, exploring what this means and moving at a pace that is comfortable for your child is very important. So too, is giving them opportunities to practice ‘good hugs’ and ‘safe touch’, acknowledging that they may not have had much of this in the past. This can made fun, for example by using a stopwatch to have ‘ten second cuddles’ or using structured play therapy to introduce games involving touch, like ‘pass the hand squeeze’.
Happy hugging – & happy practising hugging, too!