Children practice relationshipsAlthough humans are social animals, children are not born knowing how to develop and manage social relationships. This is a learning skill, and like most skills, it is learned through observation and practice. This practice is really scary because children need their caregivers and may be afraid of angering them. Because lovers and other transition objects don't challenge children's experiences and behaviors, they become a safe place to socialize with others, according to an article in Psychology Today.
You may see children have different relationship models with their loved ones, including parenting, teaching, and even adversarial. This can; children will need these skills later in life, and having them develop these skills early in life will help them manage these relationships more successfully as they grow up.
LOVEYS teaches emotion regulationLikewise, children are not born with emotional regulation skills. Emotion regulation is a set of skills that allow us to manage and appropriately respond to the emotions we feel. As adults, we often unknowingly employ emotion regulation strategies, but with children, it's not that simple.
Their relationship with the transition object allows them to experiment with emotion regulation strategies without fear of punishment or blame.
When children experience emotions that they cannot regulate, they may be overwhelmed by their own feelings, and they may resort to one of the "three Fs": fight, flight, or freeze. None of these are appropriate responses to strong emotions. Having a stuffed toy on hand can provide a safe outlet for these strong emotions to let your child vent or cry, and that vent can help them regain their composure.
playing pretend is goodIt's no surprise that plush toys can be containers for a child's imagination, but playing with pretend helps develop important skills.
A child might talk to a stuffed toy and tell them something they might say uncomfortable to others, and the stuffed toy might "respond" in a friendly and reassuring way. The character of the plush toy was of course invented by the child, so this dialogue actually represents the child talking to himself and comforting himself. As a child grows, this conversation can become an inner voice of affirmation and comfort, fostering positive self-talk and greater resilience in the face of fears, challenges, and failures.
However, that's not all. Pretending can help children understand new and potentially frightening experiences. This can be observed by watching children play with doctors and stuffed animals. The thought of going to the doctor can be daunting if the child really doesn't know what to expect. Using a stuffed toy to play the role of a doctor's visit can help children visualize the positive outcomes of a doctor's visit (or other stressful situation) and help relieve some of the anxiety they feel.
Playing pretend with friends helps develop skills like communication and cooperation. These skills also lay the foundation for important executive function skills, such as emotion regulation. Playing pretend also allows your child to put themselves in other people's shoes and develop empathy with others.
stick to stuffed animalsWhen you consider the way that bunny plush friends have evolved with their owners, you'll see why you might want to keep your kids as their favorite sweethearts even into adolescence. Even after taking these emotional development lessons, a beloved bunny stuffed animals friend can still be a source of comfort when the going gets tough, and adolescence really is a tough time full of changes and new experiences.
And don't worry if you're still holding a stuffed toy as an adult. According to Scientific American, a 2012 study found no meaningful correlation between soft toy ownership and markers of immaturity or mental illness. So don't worry if your kids aren't willing to give up their love; there's no cut-off age to use these comfort items.