Why is it important for children to sleep with their cuddly toy?
by Stefania Conci on Jan 09, 2023
The relationship between a child and his soft toy is very precious for his correct development, as it gives him a greater feeling of security . In fact , during childhood , little ones perceive toys not only as an excellent means of falling asleep more easily , but above all they see a playmate capable of listening and comforting them .
They are puppets that allow them to better manage their emotions and, when necessary, to support them in learning in order to make them independent in the right stages.
The soft toy is seen by the child as a real friend , therefore it has feelings and is like a living being . While falling asleep, the object, of any shape or form , can help to say goodbye to the whole day and rest for the next one.
These items are capable of providing security and warmth , making the transition from day to night happen without taking too long to sleep.
The relationship between the soft toy and the child is also fundamental as this element is used to allow the transfer of all life experiences. He also acts as a consoler, an essential figure for a correct identity process , as well as consolidation and reflection on the various rules that are given to him.
The puppets are not only excellent for helping them sleep but also and above all during moments that represent particularly special challenges : they are in fact suitable for reliving past experiences and stimulating development .
This playmate is always present during the child's daily routines, from holidays to the classic visit to the doctor.
It can help in creating a symbolic connection with one's home and sometimes, in the absence of the mother, it is seen as a real substitute to which it can attribute the characteristics it needs.
What does the soft toy represent for children and why give it away
It should be emphasized that for children their cuddly toy is of fundamental importance throughout the day and night. This is also given by the presence of fear , a very complex feeling written in the genetic heritage of any living being.
This sensation is usually perceived by adults and children in case of danger, precisely when the organism itself tries to protect itself . Innate fear is processed and experienced very differently depending on the person, and is present in both adults and children.
Precisely, the latter can experience it in situations that are normal for the parent and therefore could be insignificant or unjustified . The soft toy instead helps to alleviate this feeling or to distract the child.
This companion is essential to not make him feel alone : in fact, the little ones tend to be afraid of loneliness as they are constantly in contact with their mother, and especially at an early age they fear clear and eternal separation .
They suffer from loneliness especially in the dark, and therefore during the night. This feeling is completely normal and can be overcome thanks to the company of the soft toy, which can relieve until the perceived feeling of insecurity gradually disappears .
This step may seem trivial but in reality it is fundamental precisely because it determines the growth of serene adults.
Fears and anxieties in the child are frequent during the night and are caused by his beliefs about monsters , or by loud noises and shadows , which can take certain forms that make him feel insecure .
Parents are away from their child during the night and he sleeps alone in his room, for this reason a friend is important , namely his stuffed animal.
The latter manages to make him grow positively and promote a psychological balance , especially when he has his first room and must necessarily sleep alone . During the change phase it is essential that he is as serene as possible, and in addition to the presence of the toy cushion or embroidered cushion , it is possible to take further precautions.
Specifically, you can opt for the use of a simple light aimed at making the room less dark but sufficient to ensure sleep, or leave the door wide open to reassure the child.
The soft toy chosen by the latter can have any shape or characteristic and is also known as a real transitional object , used to associate the figure of the mother or the reference figure with it.
The little ones can therefore pour all their emotions not only on a teddy bear, but also on handcrafted cushions or cushions handmade by their mother. In any case, these are useful for rest during the hours in which they are necessarily detached from the parental figure.
What are the benefits of a soft toy
For the child, a soft toy that keeps him company during the day and night is a great benefit from many points of view.
First of all, his plush pillow will be a real inseparable companion : according to various researches, in fact, his presence is able to guarantee greater school learning and encourages reading .
Furthermore, these objects also become the protagonists of the fantasy stories of young children, as well as the friends with whom children love to tell stories and talk .
Speaking of reading , an advantage to underline in having a puppet lies precisely in the incentive of this activity.
Specifically, this detail was underlined with a Japanese research where people dressed up as toys read stories to children until they fell asleep.
When they woke up they showed a greater interest in reading as their favorite companions read them too.
If this behavior is repeated, especially in schools and at an early age, the little ones are already interested in reading . In addition to the method used in the research just mentioned, it is sufficient to show images of a stuffed animal reading a book to intrigue your child.
There are advantages regarding his creativity and socialization .
In fact, his playmate brings great benefits not only during the night but also in broad daylight, and more specifically in learning.
In fact , when children are in their most creative and imaginative phase , the teddy bear or embroidered cushion becomes their best friend and, especially in the absence of little sisters or brothers, creativity and socialization grow. The value of the relationship is enhanced by the presence of the soft toy and the child is also able to become more aware of the responsibility towards another being, as he cares so much for his soft toy and takes care of it every day.
When it's time to step away from the cuddly toy
For parents wondering when is the right age or time to be able to detach their child from the soft toy , it is good to keep in mind that the latter is known as a very important and transitional object for him. In fact, it is primarily used as a substitute figure for the mother and as a support at various times of the day.
According to the psychoanalyst and pediatrician Winnicott , this object of attachment disappears over time : it is neither regretted nor forgotten.
In fact, he automatically manages to overcome this symbiotic bond with his stuffed animal, which is why it is highly recommended to parents not to force this moment . It must be carried out by the child in complete autonomy when the next phase of growth takes place.
In fact, the little ones themselves are able to perceive when it is the right time not to be accompanied by their stuffed animal anymore.
Once this stage is reached, parents are advised to keep it carefully as the precious object it was: in fact, there may be moments in which the child may have crises and need his friend again.
Normally the transitional object in question is used for a maximum of 4-5 years , although there are exceptions. If more time passes, it is good for the parents to intervene and calmly explain that a detachment from their partner is necessary. If this behavior continues after the age of 7-8 or the attitude towards the cuddly toy is particularly morbid, we recommend consulting a specialist, such as a psychologist .