Count on This! The 6-Second Hug

Hugs that last six seconds or more are best for soothing our minds and calming our bodies… helpful for adults and children alike!

Hugs can help and hugs can heal! Safe, nurturing touch is key to children’s healthy development, and The Count and Countess are here to demonstrate “hug power”! 

A big hug is often the first way we comfort or soothe a child who’s feeling nervous, sad, angry, or scared… and, of course, they can be equally appropriate and natural in moments of joy and celebration! But no matter what we’re feeling, did you know we get the maximum benefit from hugs when they last six seconds or more? That’s how long it takes for oxytocin—a hormone that boosts positive feelings—to “kick in,” calming our nervous system and improving our mood. 

This is a great opportunity to talk together about the importance of safe touch. Together, name some safe, trusted adults in your child’s life, and remind your child that hugs of any length should only happen with people they know and trust. Tell children that it’s okay to say no to hugs (or any touch) if they don’t want to be touched. And we don’t always need another person to help us feel the benefits of hugs—check out and share this video about self-hugs

Watch this video with children, then try it yourselves—share a six-second (or more) hug to soothe body, mind, and spirit. Notice how you feel before, during, and after the hug!