I've worked at a daycare for nearly nine months now, and I've learned more from the experience than I could have ever imagined. As a child, I was never much of a hugger, but as long as you're a decently nice person to preschool children, you'll get a variety of hugs from the children you teach.
1. The Pencil Hug: where the kid just stands there and doesn't move their arms, although they nodded when you asked if they wanted a hug.
2. The Kid Who Only Hugs You: There's one really sweet African-American child that I taught for only one week and I hugged him once before he went home with his parents. Ever since then, I can't walk into his classroom without him running up to me with arms wide open, and he can't leave the building without hugging me. But he's not an overly huggy child either, which makes me wonder what I did to make him want to hug me on a daily basis. It was just that first hug, I suppose.
3. The Kid Who Hugs Everyone: The one who tries to barge into the office during serious conversations, or hugs people they don't even know. At least the want for hugs often eases some serious tension.
4. The Sweaty Hug: I have been hugged by several school-aged boys (3rd grade and older), but they do play outside a lot, which results in slightly stinky hugs. But I have two brothers and I've sat between them post-basketball and football and soccer games, so I think I've gained immunity.
5. The One Who Only Hugs You When They Want Something: This is a tactic I've seen some of the kids use, but I don't let the hugs sway me if it's something dangerous (No, you can't climb that tree).
6. The Leader: One kid hugs you, and then all the other kids in the classroom come and hug you too.
7. The One Who Doesn't Need To Be Hugged Back: For some reason, some kids are perfectly content to just hug your legs (usually when you're talking to another parent, or standing somewhere).
8. The Distracted One: The kid who runs halfway to their mom, realizes they forgot to hug you, comes back for a hug, and then runs back to mom.
9. The One Who Hugs You and Doesn't Let Go: I had a nine or ten-year-old boy hug me (who is nearly as tall as me) and wouldn't let go, following me around the classroom as I tried to watch the other children. I managed to tell him without hurting his feelings that I needed to return to my job. Also, I didn't want parents to get the wrong message.
10. The One Who Squeezes So Hard that You Fall Down: There's a ten-year-old girl who is fairly strong and is known for hugs that could hurt or potentially make you fall down. I have to warn the new teachers about the surprising strength of her hugs, but we all laugh about it and the girl's feelings don't get hurt in the process. It's a really interesting joke now.
I love each of these children, and it's been fascinating watching how all their different personalities come into play through just this one way. What hugs have you gotten from children? Comment below!