Children and their favorite stuffed animals

Kinderen en hun favoriete knuffel

Children often have an abundance of toys and stuffed animals, yet there's always one plush toy that reigns supreme. This one goes everywhere, wherever you go. Sound familiar? Chances are, you had a special stuffed animal as a child too, so it's not surprising that your child has one as well. But why do children have a favorite cuddly toy, and at what age does this become unhealthy? Or should you not want to attach an age to it? You'll find out here.

Why Having a Favorite Cuddly Toy Is Good

So, your child is inseparable from his or her cuddly toy, and that's a good thing! Stuffed animals, or a specific one, help children with their emotional development. They provide comfort when your child is scared or sad, for example. This is because from a young age, children derive comfort and security from their cuddly toys. If a situation arises where your child feels uncomfortable or misses you as a parent, a cuddly toy can reassure them. This way, there's always something nearby when your child needs it. Although such a cuddly toy isn't alive or 'real,' it's a different story for children. Thanks to their rich imagination, they often believe that stuffed animals are alive.

Cuddly toys provide children with comfort, but they also help with something else: independence. For example, if your child finds something daunting, you can use the cuddly toy to 'demonstrate' it first. Think of trying new foods, sleeping at grandma and grandpa's, or sleeping alone. Finally, a favorite cuddly toy is also good for your child's creativity. When children play with their cuddly toy, it stimulates the creative part of their brains.

Until What Age Do Children Need a Stuffed Animal, Blanket, or Doll?

Your child has a favorite cuddly toy. It's natural that the two are inseparable. As children get older, between two and five years old, they will naturally start to distance themselves from their cuddly toy. As a parent, you can encourage this. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Cuddly toys often provide comfort. Try to offer comfort yourself as a parent when your child needs it.
  • Reduce the use of the cuddly toy. Discuss with your child that the cuddly toy can't always come along.
  • Try to place the cuddly toy out of sight more often or distract your child with other things.
  • Don't let emotions escalate too much. Don't engage in a battle over the cuddly toy, as your child will only need more comfort and therefore want the cuddly toy.

But what if my child is older than five years old and still needs a cuddly toy? Even then, it's not a big deal. The best thing to do is to let your child feel and determine if they still need the cuddly toy. With the tips above, you can encourage distancing. It's especially important to take the time together for this so that no frustrations arise.

Does your child have a favorite cuddly toy?

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