This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
May a couple engage in affectionate touch [i.e. hugging, kissing, etc.] in front of their children?
Halachic perspective: It is forbidden for a husband and wife to affectionately touch each other in front of other people. Once one’s child knows how to talk, one is not to engage in affectionate touch in front of the children, just as is the law regarding any other person. It would thus be forbidden for the couple or parents to engage in open affection, such as hugging, kissing and holding hands in front of their children, just as it is forbidden to do so in public, and so is the custom of all G-d fearing Jews. [Furthermore, it is an act of piety to avoid kissing one’s wife, or doing other sexually related activity, even in front of very small children, such as babies in a crib, as this matter gets engrained in their eyes and mind until the day of their death.]
Psychological perspective: Arguments pro and against showing affection in front of one’s children have been given from an educational, and psychological, perspective. Some claim doing so is a positive thing that helps one’s children know that the parents love each other, and introduces love into their lives. Others counter that doing so makes the child uncomfortable, as they are not interested in seeing a display of intimacy between their parents. It can also lead the child to have a heightened desire for his own intimacy with a partner, prior to marriage. One can educate one’s children in showing love, and teach them that their parents love each other, by performing acts of kindness to each other in their presence, and speaking respectfully to one another. Practically, as stated above, it is forbidden to touch affectionately in front of others, which includes one’s children.
 There is no unique Halacha that limits the showing of affection in front of children, or that excludes children from the above law that prohibits affectionate touch in front of others. Thus, seemingly, children are included in the above prohibition of showing affection in front of “others.” Now, there are two reasons behind the prohibition against showing affection before others: 1) Tznius and 2) Hirhur. [See Taz ibid] Thus, it would be forbidden for the couple to engage in immodest affectionate touch in front of children who can speak [see below], while acts of touch that are not immodest necessarily would be permitted in front of children, until the child has reached an age to comprehend the concept of marital relations which thus may lead him to Hirhur. Vetzaruch Iyun from the Halacha that parents may be naked and sleep naked with their kids until the age of embarrassment, which is approximately 11-12 years of age. [Admur 73:3; Michaber E.H. 21:7] One must, however, conclude that there is a difference between being undressed in front of others and showing affection in front of others, as is seen from the fact that men may bathe together, and sleep under blankets, even though showing affection in front of them is forbidden due to Tznius; See Asher Chanan 6-7:74; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 20:3
The age from which the prohibition begins: It is forbidden to perform marital relations before any human being who has reached the age that they can speak. [Michaber 240:6] Seemingly, this same age would apply regarding showing affectionate touch in front of a child.
 Rama Even Ha’ezer 21:5; Nemukei Yosef Bava Basra 186b, based on story of Rav Benah and Eliezer, brought in Baba Basra 58a.
The reason: As it is not modest for a couple to be engaged in affection in public. In addition, doing so will cause others to have erotic thoughts of them. [Taz 21:1]
 See Shevet Hamussar 16, “One is not to kiss his wife, and certainly is not to do other sexually related activity, in front of their children, even if they are small babies in a crib, as this matter gets engrained in their eyes and mind until the day of their death.”; Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid