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Parental Affection Impacts Toddler Development

The bond between parent and child begins when a baby is born. When a child receives affection, they feel safe and loved starting with the very first touch they experience as a newborn. Skin-to-Skin care, commonly known as Kangaroo Care, encourages a chest-to-chest method of holding and caring for a baby that makes them feel warm and loved.

RELATED: Skin-To-Skin Contact Is Just As Important For Toddlers As It Is For Infants

Researchers have studied the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for infants. According to Science Daly, this intimate interaction between mother and baby helps calm and comfort the baby, resulting in less crying and more sleep. It plays a role in a child’s brain development and ability to learn how to regulate their emotions. It is essential to soothe a child when they show signs of being upset to reduce their stress and send signs of love and affection.


What Is Parental Affection

A parent’s love can be felt when a child is given hugs and kisses, positive praise, and encouragement. Physical touch and positive communication from parents are necessary for a developing toddler. The presence of love and affection directly impacts toddlers’ cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development.

Forms Of Affection

  • Hugs
  • Kisses
  • Care
  • Warmth
  • Comfort
  • Concern
  • Acceptance
  • Support
  • Hugs

Hugs & Kisses Are Important For A Toddlers Development

Hugs and kisses strengthen the bond between parent and child, which is critical for healthy development. The stronger the bond, the healthier the development toddlers have. According to Parenting. Give it Time, love, and affection is crucial to a toddler’s developing brain. Physical contact like hugs, being carried, holding hands, and tickles all help a child release natural chemicals in their body that make them happy and help their brain grow.

When a parent and child have a loving, affectionate relationship, the child feels safe and secure. Hugs, kisses, and physical touch help your toddler feel comfortable and loved. Parents who make time to hug and kiss their children create a happy and confident person.

Cuddling with your child daily has a lot of benefits:

  • The child feels calm and safe
  • It helps the child relax and reduce stress
  • The child is happier and more confident
  • It enables the child to learn to manage their emotions


In addition to physical touch communicating with toddlers also helps them feel loved. Warm nurturing messages often repeated are another way for parents to show affection and support. Toddlers have big feelings but lack the vocabulary to express themselves. It is important to speak to children lovingly to help young children grow their confidence and develop emotionally.

Lack Of Affection From A Parent

On the other hand, children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have lower self-esteem and to feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive, and anti-social. A young child who is deprived of love and affection by a parent might experience feeling rejected.

A toddler who does not receive affection from a parent may have difficulty showing affection to other people later in life. This feeling of rejection can lead to depression, acting out, and aggressive behavior. According to Parenting For Brain, without parental love, a child may experience difficulty with emotional development.

Signs Of Negative Behavior Include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Hitting
  • Punching
  • Yelling
  • Irritability
  • Resentfulness

Six Ways Parents Can Give Love & Affection To Young Children

Showing a child love and affection often is easier than you think. There are small but mighty ways to give love to a young child daily, fostering their brain development, confidence, and emotional wellbeing.

  • Show affection to newborns with Skin-to-skin contact
  • Give more hugs and kisses to your toddler
  • Cuddle with young children at bedtime
  • Holding hands with your child helps them feel safe and secure
  • Make time to play together
  • Communicate with your child in a positive, loving way

Parental love and affection are vital for a toddler’s healthy development. A warm, nurturing relationship helps a child feel safe and secure, which leads to how confident they will become. Young children who are showered with affection have better self-esteem, good health, higher levels of academic achievement, and the ability to communicate and show love.

Several recent studies correlate the relationship between parental love and affection with children’s happiness and success. According to Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on improving the lives of children and their families, supports the idea that kids who receive lots of love and affection during childhood have lifelong positive outcomes.

Sources, ScienceDaily , Parenting. Give it Time., Child Trends, Parenting For Brain,

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