Louise Mallett, from Ipswich, said her four-year-old son Max was feeling a “little emotional” on the morning of his first full day of school.
“We had a chat and came up with the idea of having a heart each [on our hands] and if we pressed it, it sent a hug to the other one,” she explained.
“He said he cried as he missed me on his first half day last week, but this totally worked.”
Mallett drew a heart on the palms of their hands, and gave her son a spare one on his arm in case the one on his hand wore off.
They “charged” the heart on the morning before school by holding hands on the school run. To receive “hugs” during the day, Max just had to press on his heart - and it was a roaring success.
“When I picked him up, I said: ‘Did you get my hugs?’ and he happily said: ‘Yep, I pressed it for a long time mummy but I didn’t cry’,” the mum explained.
“So I said: ‘Ahhhh that will be that big squeeze I got, did you get my big squeeze back?’ and he said: ‘Yep!’
“Bless him, here’s to many more happy days at school.”
Mallett initially shared her story on a private parenting group on Facebook called The Motherload and it gained such attention that she was encouraged by mums on the group to share it publicly on her own page.
She shared an update on the third day of using the hug button, and wrote: “Day three and we’re still doing the hug heart. He told me off this morning as we were holding hands the wrong side and he said: ‘They won’t charge mummy!’
“Silly me. He said he’s still sending me hugs and I told him I felt every one and always sent one back and he said he got them all.”
Editor of parenting blog The Motherload Alison McGarragh-Murphy told HuffPost UK: “The new school year has just started and our members have been talking about the struggles of their children who are finding it difficult to settle in as they start school for the very first time.
“So when Louise Mallett posted the gorgeous photo of her and Max’s hug buttons we absolutely loved her idea - as did our members. Lots of mums in our lovely supportive community tried hug buttons too, and found that they also helped their child cope better with going to school for the first time.
“It’s such a sweet, simple way to help your child feel happier and more settled. All you need is a pen, two hands and a lot of love.”