Does the display of affection towards kids need to be age appropriate?

We always want to cuddle and hold our children. The age doesn’t really matter, we want to continue with the hugs and kisses. Kids need affection at every age I believe, only the kind of affection needed changes. As mothers I think, we can never really get tired of showering love and affection along with wanting them to stay little.However, comes a time when the physical affection reduces. This happens majorly in the case of boys. If you have a boy child, they are independent enough at the age of 6 years or so and they run away from hugs and kisses. They are very moody about displaying physical affection to their parents as they grow older. Conversely, do we as parents know when should be start stepping back or is stepping back really needed?

Can we really weigh and filter how much affection we should give our kids?  There are studies that show the impact of lack of affection display in kids. However, is there something called as too much affection for kids?

parents kissing a baby

We all know how important is display of affection in child’s developmental years. Our children need the cuddles and hugs. Infants and toddlers, need to be within close proximity of their parents to feel loved and secured. Besides physical affection, they also need appreciation in the form of words.

little baby with mother

As a parent, for my 6-and-a-half-year-old, I indulge in display of all sorts of affection. Right from giving hi-fives to hugs, we still share it all. We respect each other’s boundaries too and are aware when to say no too. I strongly believe communication, positivity and appreciation go a long way in shaping your child’s personality. For children love is synonymous with time, so make sure you always have a bag full of it.

Having said that, as kids grow, the kind of affection display they need, changes too. Just yesterday, I was cuddling my little man when he was going to sleep and he asked me not to cuddle him in a certain way. Off course, I didn’t realise what or how I was doing it and did take it positively and stopped. This made me realise that affection could be different for kids older than 7 years.

mom and son hugging

Here is what you should do to display affection to kids when they are not so little any more

  •  Pat on the back or ruffling their hair are great ways of showing love and appreciation. They may shy away from hugs or kisses as they are older.
  • Make sure spend time with them discussing their day and your day too. Do it in a non over powering way and make these discussions fun.
  • When you use appreciation, appreciate in detail. They are at an age where they are looking for appreciation for not just the “what” but also the “how”.
  • If a certain way of appreciating love and care is making your child uncomfortable, talk to them about it.
  • You also need to understand that kids would have growth spurts. There will be changes in their body and they may not be able to take too many cuddles or kisses on certain days. Respect that.
  • Plan fun activities with your kids. Things like cooking, playing a game or an activity that involves the both of you, is a great way to bond and still maintain the affection.
woman in gray sweater carrying girl in blue denim jacket

Kissing on the lips, hugs, cuddles and squeezes. These all could mean different things to different kids and parents. They are all needed by the children when they are growing up. Kids will eventually begin to associate these things with other things around them. Make sure you talk to them and make them aware of the difference. You may not always know how to balance your quota of hugs and kissed. I am holding on to my child’s baby years desperately. So, I would say shower your kids with as much appreciation and affection as you can. Also never substitute love, affection or time with gifts or money. Why?  Well, because, these feelings are more precious than a treasure and it is something we will discuss in my next blog.

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