The reason for the comfort factor is a combination of warmth, scent and breath of the person – the familiarity and feel of it. It makes them feel safe, secure and most importantly, loved. And it’s not just toddlers who respond to touch. Teenagers too love that beautiful feeling of being cared for. It’s a proven fact that hugs can work wonders on their mind and body as it enables release of Oxytocin in the body – an amazing chemical that will calm their mind and make their body active and energetic.
On the contrary, if a child is forever controlled and made to grow up in a strict environment, he or she can get adamant, rebellious and even depressed. And the worst aftereffect can be obesity – as some children resort to overeating to overcome this feeling. They become food addicts and fall into unhealthy eating habits that will slowly lead to excessive weight gain, lethargy and in turn, childhood obesity. The more you restrict them, the more they will want it and if you restrict them from eating a particular kind of food, the more desirable it will become to them. And food, instead of love and care, becomes their comfort factor. This will not only affect their health, but also have adverse effect on their mental, physical, sleep and emotional development pattern.
Researchers have found that kids who sleep less than the recommended 13 hours a day at age 2 are more likely to be obese at age 7, as fatigue alters the levels of appetite-regulating hormones, making them binge on unhealthy food all the time.
So make sure you give that little extra care and more hugs to your little one from now on. Let them grow into physically and mentally strong adults who will lead the world tomorrow.