You may think that stuffed animals are a child’s toy. Well, they are, but they have also become very popular for teens and adults as well because of their health benefits. So basically, you are never too old for stuffed toys!
Maybe you don’t give this a lot of thought, but did you know that these fluffy buddies have a lot of benefits on your everyday life? Check out some facts on how stuffed animals and plush toys can help us at literally any age.
For Babies & Toddlers
We all know early stages of life are critical since they involve the most important steps in development in a person. For babies, stuffed animals and plush toys, especially those with different textures, colors, sizes and even sounds, can be of great use when experimenting with their senses.
Stuffed animals also make great friends–in pretend and in reality. How? They can help toddlers begin developing social skills as they interact with a “friend.” Up until age two or three, most children are still playing by themselves and haven’t begun to explore playing in groups. Toys like stuffed animals encourage pretend play, which teaches children how to interact with others.
This early stage of playing is also an important time for them to learn empathy and compassion. As young children play and care for their stuffed animals, their brains are beginning to form important emotional connections. Later on in life, this skill will be important in forming friendships and relationships.
For School-Aged Children
You remember that feeling as a kid of being bossed around and told what to do all day? What you probably don’t remember or even know is how this can be a little exhausting for a kid sometimes. Stuffed animals and plush toys help kids experience the “I’m the grown up” feeling, encouraging them to play-pretend take care of them, feed them, put them to sleep or just feel like they must protect them from any harm.
As young children age, they have to learn how to adjust to major changes. They start school, encounter people who are different from them and spend hours away from their familiar home surroundings. Because of this, many of today’s children experience anxiety regularly. For school-aged children, holding onto a familiar stuffed toy during a stressful event can make a world of difference. The familiarity of an “old friend” is comforting, while the soft and fluffy texture can help trigger brainwaves that say, “You’re safe.”
While stuffed animals helped to develop social skills in infancy, at this stage of life they are essential to maintaining a healthy state of mind. This is vital to a child’s growth too because mental disorders can affect a child’s ability to learn and grow.
For Teens & Adults
In the US, nearly 50% of adults experience some level of mental health disorders. This can come in many forms like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. When a condition like this happens, having something to hold onto for comfort can play a huge role in the healing process. It will not replace medications, but it is scientifically proven to help.
Young adults are often dealing with change, whether it’s their jobs, relationships or where they live, says Anthony C. Puliafico, Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “When many things are changing in our lives, it can feel comforting to have some things stay the same, even if they’re small things.” There is something about the soft, plush toys that is soothing!
So now you know, whether you have a huge collection of stuffed animals and plush toys or just want to have a plushie resting on your bed, the benefits of having them in your life are pretty important. Don’t miss the opportunity of having a fluffy companion to give you a hand when times get rough and don’t think twice when picking a stuffed animal to give as a present to that special someone.