While some purchase soft toys as gifts, others might see them as mere decorations. Yet, many children adore these cuddly companions, often turning them into their "friends." Soft toys play a significant role in a child's psychological well-being. Through interactions with these stuffed animals, kids emulate adult behavior, engage in imaginary play, and establish emotional bonds.
The comfort derived from a soft toy's texture and form can alleviate a child's stress. These plush pals often accompany children to various places, serving as a reassuring presence reminiscent of home and loved ones.
From birth, children explore the world through relationships and play. Engaging with various toys, including the ever-loving teddy bears, aids their holistic development. And while numerous toys can educate and entertain, nothing quite compares to the embrace of a soft toy, except perhaps a mother's loving hug.
Recent studies from the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology highlight the mental health benefits of soft toys. These researchers advocate for every child's possession of an emotional support stuffed animal. Their findings emphasise the therapeutic effects of tactile interactions with these toys, particularly for restless children.
Research indicates that a lack of play or attention can lead to developmental challenges in kids. Soft toys, especially teddy bears, can mitigate anxiety. However, an overabundance of toys might lead to future attention issues. Deprivation of these soft companions can induce existential fears, potentially resulting in social withdrawal or even aggressive behaviour.
Interestingly, children below three who regularly sleep with their teddy bears are 48% less likely to develop mental disorders compared to those without such companionship.
Teddy Bears Amidst Quarantine
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our understanding of numerous phenomena. A comprehensive study in South Korea discovered that children under ten transmit the virus less frequently than adults. However, adolescents, particularly those between 10 to 19 years, seem to have transmission rates similar to adults.
In these trying times, children require additional attention, especially when quarantined or hospitalised. Introducing a new friend, like a bear from Giant Bears, can alleviate feelings of isolation and depression, reminding them of happier times outside the confines of their current environment.
Socialising Through Soft Toys
Today's market offers an extensive variety of high-quality bear sculptures. The right choice should resonate with a child's personality and gender. Bears can be invaluable companions, teaching children about friendship, emotions, and societal norms. Engaging with these pals under parental supervision, children can better understand societal structures and moral principles. Studies suggest that children without a close friend during their formative years may engage in less prosocial behavior. Hence, fostering socialisation through such means is crucial.
The Healing Touch of Teddy Bear Therapy
Pioneers like G. Hook-Helmut utilised play in child psychoanalysis. Building on this foundation, teddy bear therapy, influenced by psychoanalytic play therapy and Gardner's mutual storytelling technique, has emerged. This therapeutic method encourages children to project their challenges onto a teddy bear, facilitating open dialogue and exploration of potential solutions within a safe environment.
Such therapeutic interventions have shown positive effects, especially for children with high levels of dissociation, ADHD, and autism. The tactile engagement provides sensory stimulation, aiding in their social adaptability and communication skills.
After traumatic events, such as wars, many individuals grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition isn't exclusive to adults; children exposed to traumatic events, especially domestic violence, can develop PTSD. Having a soft, comforting toy, like a teddy bear, can serve as a confidant, helping them process their emotions and experiences. However, it's crucial for parents to guide interactions to ensure healthy emotional expression and avoid aggressive play.