Tiny Docs

Health Made for Kids!

A Kid's Guide to the Science of Hugs

Written By: Team TD

February 13, 2024







Have you ever heard your parents or grandparents say, "I bet a hug will make you feel better?" Well, there's a reason they say that... it's true! Hugging is a superpower that every kid has. Want to find out how cool hugs really are?

When you get a big hug from someone you trust, a lot of good things happen inside your body. A hug can calm you down when you're upset and cheer you up when you're sad. It can make that scrape on your knee hurt less or help you get over a cold faster. It even helps your heart muscle work better.

Doctors know that when you hug somebody, their body makes a whole bunch of cool stuff that's like a special power potion. Here are some of the power potions your body can make when you get a hug.

  • Ouch-Away Potion: A hug from a friend can tell your body to make something called an

    endorphin (en-dor-fin). That's a good chemical in your body that makes you hurt less. Bye-bye, ouchies!

  • Happy Heart Potion: Hugs can help you calm down when you're upset because they can tell your body to make something called oxytocin (ox-ee-toe-sin). That's a potion that makes you feel happy, safe and loved.

  • No-Stress Potion: When you're upset or scared, your body makes a bad chemical called cortisol (kor-tee-soll). It tells your body to be stressed out and it can make your stomach feel funny or your owies get extra owie. A hug helps you relax and makes all that yuck go away.

  • Health Potion: Hugging is like having a health potion factory right inside your body! A hug can help your immune system, which is your body's shield against getting sick. So, more hugs can mean more playtime and fun adventures and less time with a sniffly nose and a fever!

All that sounds so cool, but maybe the most important thing a hug can do is make you feel loved and safe. It's a very special superpower, so make sure you use it right! Here are some tips to make sure all your hugs are great ones:

  • Not everybody likes to be hugged, so make sure you ask first.

  • Only hug people you're really comfortable with

  • Only let good friends and family hug you.

It doesn't matter if you hug someone with one arm, both arms, or if you jump up and down (because you can hug when you're excited, too!). A good hug with a friend or family you trust is good medicine, and an even better superpower.

Team TD

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