When a child falls and has minimal injuries, it’s easy to give a quick hug, kiss, and brush the dirt off of their knees. Doing it quickly usually stops the tears fast and helps the incident have less tears for everyone involved. I saw a quote a few weeks ago and ever since then, I have followed the advice.
“When you are hugging a child, always be the last one to let go. You never know how long they need it.”
When a child is crying because they fell, and they come to me for a hug, I make sure I hold on until they let me go. As we hug, I talk about the emotions they may be feeling (anger, sadness, frustration) and I remind them that it is okay to feel that way sometimes. Ironically, they only hug me about 10 seconds longer than I would have hugged them in previous circumstances.
Maybe the child needed to be held just a little longer. Maybe they missed their mom/dad/family member and their falling reminded them of the sadness that they felt from missing their loved one. Sometimes children don’t have the words to describe the way they are feeling or why they are feeling a certain way. To be honest, sometimes I don’t know why I feel a certain way or I can’t describe the way I am feeling. The only way to solve those negative feelings is to be held or hugged until I magically feel better. Children are the same way. It can be easy to forget that.
During a busy day, it can be hard to slow down and enjoy where you are in the moment. Stopping to hug a sad child is a way to stop and slow down. Hugging a child to stop the tears is such a simple thing to do to make the child feel better (and may even help you feel better). Of course letting go first is sometimes necessary (drop-off in the morning or mediating an argument in the classroom), but if a child is hurt in some way, try to never let go first.