One of the very first toys a child receives is often a teddy bear or some kind of stuffed animal. But these soft, plush animals are more than just a toy. For a young child, they become instant friends – companions that are always available to play with when mummy and daddy are tired or busy. So, over time, kids can grow quite attached to their plush toys. But what makes these toys so special and different from all the other play items in a child’s bedroom? To answer that, here are some of the reasons plush toys are especially beneficial for children to play with.
Plush Toys Provide Instant Comfort
The greatest benefit of stuffed animals and other soft, cuddly plush toys is that they can ease stress and anxiety in young children. For babies and toddlers, the world can seem like a big and overwhelming place and having something secure and soft to hold on to can help them cope with their emotions. By cuddling with a stuffed animal, children can learn how to self-soothe instead of calling for mummy and daddy to provide instant comfort. What’s more, a child’s stuffed animal can be his/her own personal companion which they don’t have to share with anyone else. This can be especially beneficial for a child that splits the parents’ affection and attention with other siblings.
They Help Build Social Skills
In a child’s imagination, stuffed toys are animate creatures which they can interact with. So, when you see a child spending time with their favourite plush animal, it often looks like they’re having a conversation or playing different roles. Doing so, they often mimic everyday activities and some of the grown-up conversation they overheard. As a result, this pretend play can help children learn how to form social bonds and express themselves.
They Encourage Language Development
Besides bolstering social skills, pretend play with stuffed toys also helps develop speech and language skills. Just think about it. What encourages your child to speak more – Lego blocks or stuffed toys? The stuffed toys’ effect on language skills can start even when the child is a small baby. Seeing the distinct features of a face encourages babies to babble more which can help speed up the development of language.
They Teach Compassion & Empathy
Besides seeing them as friends they can play with, as children continue to grow, they start assuming the role of a caretaker for their stuffed toys. As they pretend to feed, clothe and bathe their stuffed animals, children learn how it is to nurture and care for others. As a result, this can help children become more considerate about the needs of other people.