Children of today have access to toys of all shapes and sizes. Some toys are cuddly and squishy whilst others are high-tech, but did you know that the soft ones are usually the most favoured among kids? For children, a teddy bear is a friend who can listen or talk to them no matter where they go. It can also serve as an outlet for their feelings and emotions that is otherwise inexpressible through words.
Can you still remember your very first teddy bear? For many, that furry gift is their first childhood friend, so it’s no wonder that children can become so attached to their little companions.
Numerous studies have shown that soft toys have a positive effect on the development of a child. Even in today’s technological age, shops all over the world are still filled with soft toys and loved by many!
Benefits of Soft Toys for Babies
Babies love to touch and feel new textures, soft toys can provide the perfect mix for developing sensory skills and encouraging social and emotional growth. Even at such a young age, infants begin to grasp the different colours, sizes and textures of the world around them and soft toys are a perfect way for them to explore new things.
Just like adults, babies feel anxiety and distress. The world is a scary place for them and one way of easing them and providing comfort is by showing them their favourite furry animal. Soft toys can give babies a sense of reassurance and familiarity. They are also able to help babies to self-soothe. If they are presented with stressful situations, a teddy by their side can help them seek comfort and create the illusion that they are with a loved one.
Aside from providing a sense of comfort, soft toys also help babies develop their social skills. Stuffed animals can help them immerse in pretend play. This can include mimicking what is familiar to them like pretending to eat food, pretending to talk with mum or dad, pretending to play with a sibling or other friends. This can serve as a foundation for bolstering their social skills.
Because pretend play encourages them to interact with other people, soft toys can also help babies to develop their language and communication skills. Pretend play encourages them to talk with other people, laying the groundwork for learning writing and reading in the near future.
Soft toys also encourage babies to care for other people and appreciate the presence of relationships. It helps them understand the importance of empathy and compassion, as well as satisfy their need to nurture other people.
When buying soft toys for babies, it is important to make sure that they are suitable for those under 12 months of age. Due to a baby’s instinct to explore with their mouths, it’s important that there are no small parts or loose fibres that may present as a choking hazard.
Benefits of Soft Toys for Toddlers
The benefits of soft toys for toddlers are invaluable. The warmth of a cuddly toy offers comfort and security that children desire when tired or facing a new change or situation. A toddler’s favourite teddy can also help with separation anxiety and the move from cot to toddler beds.
Young children often use soft toys to project their own feelings – and then comfort them, encouraging valued qualities such as empathy, affection and bonding.
For toddlers, the world is an exciting place with many things waiting to be discovered. Soft toys can help them learn new skills through role-playing. For instance, if you want them to learn how to brush their teeth, you can show them how it is done and allow them to replay the process by brushing the teeth of their favourite furry animal.
Kids have the tendency to throw temper tantrums whenever they feel frustrated. As a parent, you can help them manage their emotions by giving them a stuffed animal. For instance, if your child tends to cry whenever you leave home, you can reenact those moments using their soft toys. Borrow their favourite toy and pretend that it wants to go to preschool, meet new friends, and learn from their teachers. As soon as they realise that you leaving the house is not so bad, they won’t be throwing those tantrums anymore.
Children of this age can sometimes be afraid of being separated from their parents. By showing them that there is nothing to fear and by helping them learn to separate, you will be able to improve their self-esteem, reduce their stress and help them feel comfortable and secure.
Older Children & Big Kids
The benefits of soft toys don’t just apply to babies and toddlers. Studies have shown that cuddling a soft toy can help soothe anxiety. Touch that mimics human interaction, such as cuddling a teddy bear, could be a helpful addition to treat low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.
It seems that the relationship we develop as a young child with our favourite soft toys can be beneficial even into adult life. Recent research has revealed that 51% of adult men have kept their childhood cuddly toy and many of them still sleep with them – 28% to be exact! This simply proves that the bond we make with our favourite teddy is a lifelong friendship and far more deep and complex than first meets the eye.
At Beehive Toy Factory, we sell a wonderful collection of unique soft toys for children of all ages and adults alike!
Do you still have your childhood teddy? What memories can you remember with your first soft toy? We would love to hear your story!