The benefits of affection are contagious.

Ways to Be More Affectionate With Your Kids

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Do you find yourself stiff and uncomfortable when your child climbs all over you? Maybe you're one of those parents who has a hard time showing affection toward your little ones. Some adults look back at their own childhoods and realize little affection was expressed and, as a result, they feel that they didn't learn how to express affection. Let your little ones use their loving energy to show you the joy of hugging, kissing and cuddling.

1. A Special Touch

Holding, hugging and stroking are some of the easiest ways to increase affection with your children. These forms of touch communicate positive feelings to the young children in your life. A brief tickle, a special handshake or a pat on the head are also signs of affection that show warmth, kindness and caring. Touch conveys to the child that he is special, it encourages your child to share with you and will help to strengthen the parent-child bond.

2. Hugging and Holding

Hugging and holding your children close relieves stress, diminishes pain and increases feelings of closeness between parents and children, according to an article in Women's Day magazine. Holding your hugs for at least 20 seconds increases the hormone oxytocin in the body, according to the article. Hugging or holding your child on your lap while communicating positive or even serious messages to her will increase the likelihood that your message will be received in a positive way and remembered.

3. Start Slow

Overwhelming your kids with sudden displays of affection can shock and confuse them. If you'd like to be more affectionate, start with a high five or a short hug. Once your child responds well to that, invite them to sit on your lap or swing them in the air when you arrive home from work. Get on the floor and roll around and wrestle with your kids during playtime. Don't be afraid to give them a small dose of the "tickle torture." The laughter and happiness will increase the closeness between you and your kids.

4. Modeling

As parents, we have to remember to show affection to each other throughout the day. Children are constantly watching their parents and learn how to express emotions, communicate and show affection by what is modeled for them. Your son will be more likely to hug his mom because he has watched his dad hug his mom daily. Touch among parents will help decrease the stress that parenting brings, which in turn will help you to feel positive feelings toward your children.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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