Stuffed animals are more than just a toy for children; they’re invaluable tools that help kids grow in healthy ways. They create a sense of security, stimulate creativity and imagination, promote independence and decision-making, and teach kids to take care of and love smaller beings. They are the perfect companions through life’s many highs and lows, and kids stay loyal to their stuffed animal friends — sometimes for decades.
According to psychologist Donald Winnicott, stuffed animals are what he called “transitional objects.” They bridge an uncertain gap or difficult time in a child’s life and provide comfort when parents are busy or absent. This is why it’s so important for babies and toddlers to learn how to self-soothe with a soft, cuddly creature like a bear or a monkey. Stuffed animals are also essential to help infants develop motor skills, social-emotional abilities, and language development.
As a child grows, their stuffed animal may transition from being a playmate to being a snuggle buddy or a sleeping companion. In a poll conducted by Build-A-Bear Workshop, it was found that 40% of adults reported still sleeping with their childhood teddy bears. And as a grown-up, you might think there would be some sort of stigma to having a stuffed animal for an emotional support system, but studies show that even adults can benefit from a plush companion.
Studies show that when we pet a real or stuffed animal, it decreases our stress hormone cortisol, which can cause weight gain and heart disease. So go ahead and give your stuffed animal (or that old friend from childhood) a big hug, it will make you feel good. stuffed animals