Mum’s heartfelt ‘hug button’ idea helps anxious kids get through the day

Posted in Toddler Essentials.

This is such a beautiful idea that we decided to publish it again so parents of little humans returning to school after lockdown might find some comfort – and hope – in it.

Four years ago, Louise Mallett came up with a genius idea to help her youngest son, who was feeling emotional and anxious about his first day of school. Her simple hack has since been used so many times by parents that it might now be turned into a book to help other kids overcome their worries. 

Separation anxiety

Some children have no problem settling into daycare or preschool and can’t wait to front up to their first day of school. However, for many young kids, it’s the cause of extreme anxiety and nerves, as they struggle to cope with the emotions of being away from their parents. 

First-day nerves

This is what happened with Louise Mallet’s youngest son when he started school. To help him transition with less worry and more confidence, she whipped out a pen and devised a simple technique called the ‘hug button’ to give her child a bit of a ‘helping hand’ for the day.

THE ORIGINAL HUG BUTTON STORY©️Update : wow nearly a year on and this is still getting so much love ! Please continue…

Posted by Louise Mallett on Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Love bond

“So my littlest baby had his first all dayer at school today, having been in for a couple of morning settling in sessions,” wrote Louise in her Facebook post.

“I could tell he was feeling a little emotional this morning so we had a chat and came up with the idea of having a heart each and if we pressed it, it sent a hug to the other one…it totally worked! I drew a heart on both our hands and gave him a spare one on his arm in case the one on his hand wore off, we ‘charged’ them by holding hands on the way to school and when I picked him up I said “Did you get my hugs?” and he happily said ‘yep!”

Hugs all round

Louise’s son did say that he had to press his heart for a long time, but he didn’t cry, which was a big contrast to his half-day school sessions previously where he was quite emotional. So the ‘hug button’ worked better than Louise imagined, but what she didn’t bank on was that once he was all sorted at school, she might actually need it herself.

“Here’s to many more happy days at school while I sit at home with the dog and cry that all my babies are at school now,” she wrote.

The help they need

Now four years on from her original post, Louise, who has added a new baby girl to her brood, has posted an update saying just how much attention her cute ‘hug button’ idea has received. She’s also now written a rhyming book about the concept which she’s hoping to have published so that other young kids who might be anxious about daycare, preschool, school or any other situations where they might be separated from their parents or loved ones (such as in a divorce), can feel reassured and more confident about being independent.

Grabbing the biro now …


Parent School footer dinkusNeed some support to be the best parent you can be? Our Parent School parent coaching experts can help. Click to find out more or book a one-on-one session. 


Get more babyology straight to your inbox