Today I was reminded of how simple connecting with our children can be. My eldest who was on a silly rampage managed to reign himself in independently and out of the blue came to me for a hug, not because he was upset, not because he was saying “sorry”, just “because”.  He actually cooed a little as well.  It was very sweet and it gave me that warm fuzzy feeling as well.  Now my youngest was watching and said “oh… I guess I don’t get any hugs”. To which I replied “What?!  You can have a hug anytime you want, the hug store is always open. ‘Free Hugs’ from mommy and baba (that’s what they call their dad, it’s a Greek thing) anytime.” My eldest chimed in, “yeah open 24 hours a day!” “Yes” I said, and wholeheartedly agreed.   Then I was reminded of when we were at Kensington Market for a Pedestrian Sunday (they close the streets to traffic). There was a group of young people wearing signs that said “free hugs”. Remembering that Sunday led me to several ideas that I thought you may want to try out in your family. Here are some ways you can implement the free hug “rule” in your family  (of course I know it’s not as If you are currently charging your kids for hugs).  The idea is to increase the number of hugs and in turn the connection with your kids, which sometimes gets lost in the day to day busy- ness.   Have fun with it and feel free to do your own version,we would love to hear any unique ways you’ve come up with to spread free hugs.

  1. Call an important meeting and with your most serious face announce that the free hugs store is open for business. Anyone wanting hugs at any time can approach with open arms or request a free hug from mom or dad 24 hours a day. There is no limit to the amount you can get for free. Hugs do not need to be reciprocated, only accepted.

  2. Make a fancey sign saying ” free hugs” or “hugs free for the taking” and stick it on your back or front while at  home. Preferably both parents would do this.

  3. Make a permanent sign saying “free hugs redeemable at your local mom or dad“.

  4. Make a special coupon for each child with their name on it and put it in an envelop and give to them at breakfast or after school. Make sure it says on it ” no expirey date” and that the amount of free hugs is limitless.

  5. For older tech savvy kids send an email or text with the same announcement.

Yeah your kids may look at you strange at first but you have planted the seed and you’ve let them know that you are there for them, whenever and for whatever. The trick is doing this when things are calm and not in response to fighting, upsets, or repair work (the make up after the fight). Just remember the hugs are “free” so do not to expect anything in return.  There may be some resistance if this sort of adult silliness is not usual in your family, but once your kids realize that you are serious, (that is serious about being silly) you may just find that its a freeing experience.

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