Mom Life,Parenting

How To Use Hug Time To Create A Happier Homelife 

Mom hugging her toddler

We all hear about the terrible twos and threenager stage, but I once had a friend explain to me that four is where the real chaos starts, and as we creep up on D’s birthday I’ll just say this— the struggle is real.

“Why” and “No, I’m not going to” have taken reign over my son’s vocabulary like an alien in a host body.

I never would have thought that someone would question me so extensively and upsettingly about mundane things like stopping at the gas station or putting on the socks with two grey stripes instead of three, but alas, it appears that mother does not know best and that my almost four year old is positive he’s got this world figured out. And hey, maybe he’s right.

After months of losing my cool and then promptly hating myself for it, I finally decided to step back and get some perspective.

Kids do what they want to do. They are instinctive to a fault. They rarely question something’s safety or social acceptability. They just live.  They simply love life. That is, until we convince them to question, fear, and conform to it.

And no, I’m not saying that we should all live in anarchy and just do whatever the hell we please without any thought to the consequences. I’m not saying we should wake up the whole house at 3:30 am because we really want to play with our drums and we don’t care about what stage of the REM cycle anyone else is in. Or that we should stick to a strict diet of ice cream and Oreos without considering the very real possibility of Diebetes.

As adults, our knowledge is what allows us to succeed. But it is also blinds us to the beauty of this world. To the simplicity. We have gotten so damn complicated that we tend to forget about our most basic human wants and needs.

Have you seen the movie Trolls, yet? If not, go grab it. It just came out on DVD and no, I’m not partnered with them. I just love that movie and think everyone should see it.

Anyway, in the movie, the main character Poppy (Anna Kendrick) goes on an adventure to save her friends from a Bergen that has captured them and wants to eat them. Although she has never done anything even remotely like that before, she is confident and optimistic and ready to take on the world with her glass half full mentality.

Branch (Justin Timberlake) who joins her, is the polar opposite of Poppy. He is pessimistic and sarcastic and sees everything through a “worst case scenario” lense.

While on this wild adventure to save their friends, Branch finds that true happiness has been inside of him all along and that he just needed someone (Poppy) to show it to him.

Friends, our children are the Poppy’s of this world, and they are trying to remind our grumpy Branch hearts what true happiness is.

When I realized this, my life started to change.

I started to care less about what was socially acceptable and more about what would bring joy to the people around me. I started singing in grocery stores and having dance parties at the park and talking to more strangers. I let my children’s light shine through me, to serve as inspiration for the kind of person I should be, instead of getting frustrated with them for simply being who they are at times that felt inappropriate or annoying.

And the biggest thing I’ve done is implement hourly hug time. 

In the movie, all of the Trolls wear these little watches that go off once an hour letting them know it’s time to hug.

So, to combat the tantrums that both my kids and myself seem to throw on any given day, I decided to take a page out of the Troll handbook and hug my children every single hour, on the hour.

I set alarms in my phone with a whimsical tone, and they go off from 6 am- 6 pm.

No matter what we are doing— arguing, grocery shopping, etc. — we stop and hug. I hug them while I’m in the middle of teaching a fitness class, with my hands covered in cooking ingredients, and we even “hand hug” if we are driving.

Did you know that hugs produce the love hormone oxytocin which helps to improve your physical and mental health?

I’ve been hugging my kids every hour on the hour for over a week and a half and I can honestly say it has had such a positive impact on our lives.

In fact, Declan can be mid-tantrum but when he hears that tone, he swings his arms open, grins from ear to ear, and yells, “HUG TIME!” while running to each of us for a nice big embrace.

Declan loves on his brother more now as well. The rule is, everyone gets a hug. And even my 18 month old opens his arms and lets us in for an hourly cuddle.

Outside of our hugging moments, I’ve noticed that we are all in better moods thoroughout the day. There has been less yelling, less tantrums, and less stress.

Needless to say, hug time is here to stay in my house! If you’ve been struggling with tantrums, or stress, or really anything— give it a try. Set some alarms on your phone, choose a fun tone with it that is upbeat and will excite everyone, and get your hug on. And then let me know how it goes. I hope this method works as wonderfully for you as it has for us!

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Patricia Edie
    February 16, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    This is a fantastic idea!! I have a 2 year old grandson who is the light of my life…BUT…he has the strongest little personality. I am going to use this at my house!! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Try it out and let me know how it goes with that little guy! It’s made a huge difference with Declan.

  • Reply
    lauren
    February 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    What a fun idea!! I need more hug time in my life!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:18 am

      I think we can all definitely use more hugs like, all the time!

  • Reply
    Hanna
    February 16, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    We hug A LOT! Sometimes you just NEED one! I find that it helps to calm down and reset little ones as my kids respond well to touch like hand holding, hugs, back rubs when they are upset.

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:19 am

      Hanna, yes girl, yes! It’s crazy how the smallest physical contact can have such a positive impact.

  • Reply
    Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms
    February 17, 2017 at 4:00 am

    I LOVE this idea!! I found myself singing to my daughter the other day in the grocery store and it made me smile when some women passing us smiled at our singing. I am setting this time in my phone right now!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:17 am

      Yay! I hope you love it as much as we do! And I love that. It’s so funny how we forget just how powerful something as simple as singing a song can be for those around us.

  • Reply
    Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries
    February 17, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Love this idea! Who wouldn’t want more hugs?! 🙂

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:16 am

      Right?! It’s been awesome. My oldest went through a phase recently where he decided he was too cool for hugs and kisses, so this has been the best.

  • Reply
    kirstin morabito
    February 17, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Oh I just love this! What a great mommy you are!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:15 am

      That’s so sweet of you to say, Kirstin. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    February 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    This is absolutely adorable! Such a sweet idea for hug time.

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:15 am

      Thank you, Kathy! The kids seem to really love it, so we’ve been having a lot of fun. And what mom doesn’t want more hugs? 😉

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    February 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    This is a really sweet idea, and Trolls is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. So positive!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 21, 2017 at 3:14 am

      I loved it! I keep recommending it to everyone like a crazy person, lol!

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