Simple As That: The Emergency Hug


As you may have guessed from the article I wrote earlier this year on how to be intentional with touch, one of the primary ways I give and receive love is through affection.

I wanted to share something with you today that my mother created when we were children.  It’s so simple yet so effective when you need a time-out from the moment to reconnect with your child.  My mother called it “an emergency hug.”

I can remember when we were kids, my mom would just call to one of the four of us and say, “I need an emergency hug!”  We would stop whatever we were doing and run to my mother’s open arms. It is one of the sweetest memories of my childhood, and it’s something I’ve started doing with my own daughters.

I find myself asking for emergency hugs from my daughters when I’m a little stressed out and need to recenter on the essentials of life.  Sometimes I request an emergency hug when I’m just overcome with joy and wonder with the blessings they are to me.  Still other times, I’ll tell one of them “Hey!  I need an emergency hug!” when I can see their disposition or mood spinning out into negativity.

Without any prompting or instruction, our almost five year old daughter has also begun asking for “emma-gancy” hugs, which makes my mama heart so happy.

Can you recall something special from your childhood that your parents used for the purpose of reconnection? Is there something you have created within your own family now that takes only a few minutes to lift spirits?

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  1. I love it when I can remember to give these, too.
    .-= Visty´s last blog ..2009 in review, longwinded style =-.

  2. Lovely!

    I love giving emergency hugs to my 2 year old son, I sit on the floor and he runs to me and virtually leaps on me.

    My parents were always quite emotionally distant and I don’t remember any hugs, so I try to make sure that I give my son twice as many hugs to make up for it!
    .-= Satakieli´s last blog ..Colours =-.

  3. I’ve done this a few times, asked the kids for a hug when i needed one. Never thought of them as emergency hugs, but that is exactly what they are! Now that I have a name to call them, we will be doing it a lot more often. Thank you for giving it a name!


  4. Great idea. Sometimes that’s all we need.
    .-= Sarah Jane´s last blog ..sisters =-.

  5. This is such a simple idea, but I can see it being a very powerful tool I can use with my boys. Thanks!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Project 365: Week 46 =-.

  6. I like the name. Sometimes when I’m feeling frustrated I will just grab one of the twins and hug and tickle them until we are both laughing. It releases my stress and makes my kids laugh. I do it to them when I can tell a melt down is about to happen usually it makes them forget what they were upset about.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Best Face Photo Challenge =-.

  7. What a great idea! I’m thinking I might need a few of those myself while Nate and I are on our own for the next few months! My parents were always very effectionate, and I love that about our family. Even my husband’s parents, who tend to be a bit more conservative and stiff (for lack of a better word…) give lots of hugs. It makes for a very huggy household around here sometimes and I love it!

  8. I do this too! I love the name. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= nopinkhere´s last blog ..Rolly, Rolly , Rolly, Holiday! =-.

  9. Perfect. Thank you.

  10. I’m totally going to steal this, Megan! Love it!

    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..STEADY DAYS – The Trailer =-.

  11. This is good. After a particularly unenjoyable parenting day I’m going to have to institute this. Hugs would have been good today.

  12. I love this! Emergency Hugs = good stuff for young and old, I think.

    when we were young, my Mom used to take the “long way” – if we were driving to the store, instead of the direct route, she’d take a few turns to send us a little bit out of our way so that we had longer time in the car together to talk, sing songs, giggle. when we were teens it became “lets go for a drive” …. sometimes just sitting in silence listening to music until the talking finally began.
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Plough Monday: Back to Work =-.

  13. Alicen says:

    My Mom used to hold my hand and squeeze three times for I Love You. In fact she still does it. My husband and I started doing it while we were dating, and now I give my girl three squeezes and say I Love You so that she learns what the squeezes are for.
    Great idea for the emergency hug! If I get upset at something and start crying my daughter always comes to me to give me a hug. She’s not even 2 and she understands that hugs make things better 🙂

  14. Oh, Kara! Thanks for re-running this one. We do still love a good emergency hug here! This is one of my favorites, too. 🙂
    Megan at SortaCrunchy´s latest post: this you will love- GADANKE a giveaway

  15. I have a friend who has a mailbox in each of her children’s rooms. She will leave them little notes and put the flag up when they have a message. As they’ve gotten older, they have begun leaving notes for her, too. And also now that they are older, when some conflicts with mom come up, they have found this to be a good way to “talk” it over and break the ice from an argument. I think this is a great idea and can’t wait to use it with my own daughter!

  16. What a fantastic way to refuel and stop a situation from spinning out of control. What a great tool to have at my disposal. I’m going to start doing it today. 🙂
    Jackie Lee´s latest post: What is Affiliate Marketing

  17. Wonderful! Sometimes we don’t realize the importance of such simple things that have such a great impact on us and our children. I’ll be sharing this message. Thank you! from ~Friends Like Us (nonprofit childhood cancer org)

  18. I so agree with the power of touch. And there is nothing better than giving them or receiving them when they are really needed. I recently experienced the hardest thing of my life so far and there are times when the grief hits me. My son can see it on my face and he comes and gives me a hug. What a sweet boy!
    Scarlet from Family Focus Blog´s latest post: Hard Cover Photobook Giveaway

  19. I needed to hear this, thank you. I am not a particularly tactile person, in part due to my upbringing and I do need to make more effort with intentional touch with my kids. This is a wonderful idea.


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