A mother-of-three has won praise for her heartwarming method of helping her anxious son through his first day of school - by giving him a virtual 'hug'.
Louise Mallett, 30, from Ipswich, feared her 'littlest baby' Max would struggle to get through his big day without her, so drew matching love hearts on the palms of their hands and told him that, by pressing them, they could 'send hugs' to each other.
After her plan turned out to be a triumph, Louise shared her idea on Facebook page The Motherload, where her post soon went viral with thousands of parents praising her 'simple and beautiful idea'.
Louise wrote: 'So, my littlest baby had his first all-dayer at school today, having been in for a couple of morning settling in sessions.
'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 (he said he cried as he missed me on his first half day last week) 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!
'He also said "I pressed it for a long time Mummy but I didn't cry," so I said "Ahhhh that will be that big squeeze I got, did you get my big squeeze back?" and he said "yep!"'
Proud mother Louise added: 'Bless him, 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…'
Louise's heartfelt post clearly hit a nerve with the parenting community, with some mothers confessing the story had reduced them to tears.
Alison wrote: 'Tears in my eyes reading this. So sweet. I’m totally stealing the idea!!
'My daughter starts her pre-school for two mornings a week. Her first settling in day is next Monday. We have been together every day since day one.
'It’s a hard decision to let her go but I know she needs to socialise and meet other children/staff in preparation for nursery in January. I’ll be sobbing my heart out with a G&T.'
This article was first published on dailymail.co.uk and is reproduced here with permission.