Did you know that the first cuddly toy was made by Margarete Steiff, a German woman who started producing stuffed animals in 1880, using the leftover fabric from her uncle’s factory. Since that day, it has become a very popular and sought after toy for children and adults alike. It is used as a gift, decoration or for therapeutic purposes.
Historically, the soft toys and stuffed animals were manufactured in 1902 by two Russians: Rose and Morris Mictchom, plush named the Teddy Bear in honor of one of the American presidents who refused to shoot a bear tied by the organizers during an unsuccessful hunting trip. Since that day, these two objects have become iconic and whimsical all over the world and for everyone.
What about cuddly toys and stuffed animals?
Soft toys are your baby’s first companions until a certain age. These transitional objects are important in helping your baby discover the world and all that surrounds him. They are therefore toys that will take a great place in the life of each baby since the cuddly toys and stuffed animals that our children will love from birth.
That’s why knowing how to choose them should not be done lightly. Of course, you can choose them according to their size, brand, color, or type of fabric of the toy. You can also find the kind of animal that will represent the comforter and the plush. To help give joy and satisfaction to children, help them in the adoption of these fetish objects. This way, their development remains intact and they will take on a great deal of responsibility in the future.
At what age can we give our children soft toys?
The question worries you when it comes to pleasing your baby or making sure you do it right. Then you should know that it is possible to give a cuddly toy to a baby from birth. This object can be offered as a birth gift to a baby, but provided you find the right materials. The one that does not disturb him during his sleep or when he sleeps in his crib remains the careful choice. Moreover, the right location, the right shape and the right fabric that can offer him a sweet dream matters a lot.
From 6 to 8 months, a baby really adopts his first cuddly toy. At that moment, he considers it as a full-fledged object in his existence. In other words, the one that will not leave him for many years and will help him discover his environment. Between 4 and 12 months, the child will choose his own blanket. He begins to demand the color, the shape and everything that will touch his little heart. The child then loads his little accomplice with a whole range of feelings and sensations. This gives it a truly unique character that will be indispensable throughout its life.
At what age can we offer plush to our children?
The plush will delight children over 2 years old, even if it will not lose its role of doudou. At this age, it is necessary to switch to plush toys to avoid a certain dependence on the blanket. Of course the child becomes older and starts to be interested in other things. However, this does not have the same importance as the role of the comforter. It will keep your child company and make him feel like he is not alone in his crib. It also provides a certain comfort in his life, hence the search for plush for children until adolescence. Of course, even our older children want and demand this companion toy in everyday life.
Parents must understand at what age will offer a comforter or plush to their children. It is necessary to take into account his tastes so that they can adopt it at best. This in order to confer the bond of the child and his fetish toys more than any other toy. For health reasons, it is also necessary to see the label and choose the right toy for the age of your children. The type of toy and the figurative plays an educational role.
What type of comforter and plush toy is appropriate for our children?
There are several types of soft toys that will make our children happy. But it is important to know which ones will make them happy and will not be a danger to their emotional and physical health.
Soft toys come in many shapes and qualities. They can be flat, light, easily washable and transportable. They can also be more practical for our children. Babies will be able to grab them, fold them, roll them and chew on them at will without the risk of swallowing a piece. A baby blanket should also be easy to grab and light to be carried easily by the baby. As the name suggests, it should be soft. As each child is in the process of discovering himself, he does so with his blanket.
Also for sanitary reasons, soft toys are preferable in organic cotton. In this way, they will also do good to the babies in the feeling of this soft fabric. Cotton is undoubtedly the most suitable material for baby. It does not contain any potentially dangerous components. It ensures optimal safety for the baby, especially for our hyper-sensitive babies with health problems.
Basic criteria to choose a comforter or a plush
On the other hand, the size is essential, a soft toy that is too small risks getting lost easily and would be difficult to find. Too big, it will take too much space where our babies will drag them. Today, it is possible and easy to find comforters for all tastes. You can also get them in wool, fabrics, flat, soft… With characters with big arms and legs. Even if at first the plush does not replace the comforter. But, it will officially be part of the child’s life at some point. At a certain age, the parents or your child himself will want a plush toy instead of his blanket.
So like the comforter, you need to know how to choose a plush toy whether it is in the type of fabric, shape, size. But the quality and the preference of each child counts a lot. So if a plush is too big, it will take up all the space in the crib and will bother your child. If it represents an animal that will scare your child, he will not get used to it. However, at a certain age, the bigger it is, the more it will attract the child’s attention and affection. A plush toy must be soft and hypoallergenic. In this way, your child keeps it permanently near him without the risk of irritating his fragile skin.
Different ranges of choice
There is a range of stuffed animals that offers us the embarrassment of choice. You can refer between classic, bell, colored or bright, soft, solid or manageable, animal or geometric shape … It’s up to you to find the ideal companion to make your children happy.
Whether it’s soft toys or stuffed animals, choose plush toys for those that are hypoallergenic and soft to the touch. With a practical design and resistant materials, these toys will be able to withstand washings without losing their softness.
When to say goodbye to the comforter and adopt a plush toy?
When we are parents, it is normal for us to worry about the well-being of our children. However, when it comes to toys, it is up to the child to decide for himself not to take his blanket anymore, because :
- language will give him new ways to express his pain or his boredom; therefore, he will no longer need a blanket to be the intermediary between him and others
- he will feel more confident and can express himself without hiding behind his blanket
- his social development (friends, outdoor activities, exceptional moments with the family, passion…) and will need less comfort from his blanket and to develop more with others.
Generally, the toddler abandons his blanket between 3 and 5 years old. However, some children aged 4 or 5 years old may still be in the habit of using them. This can be seen during periods of adaptation or stressful situations. For example, during a visit to the doctor, a change of educator or a change of group at the daycare. In some cases, comforters and stuffed animals help fight the nightmare. Children also use them just to feel accompanied.
What if you turn to stuffed animals?
Around 6 years old, the child usually does not reassure himself with his blanket anymore. He will always feel the need of a companion, the plush will be adequate to his age and to the environment that surrounds him. In this case, it is important for us to know how to choose the plush that will replace a blanket. We must not forget that this one had a lot of importance for the children that it is in its learning. However, at this time, we must be careful not to rush him. The change must be done by itself and little by little, because to tear off a doudou to a child can traumatize it.
It can also create a block in his development and adaptation of the plush toy. We sometimes think that it doesn’t really matter and that one toy will replace another. These toys have helped children explore the world, taste, imagination, comfort for the first time. But the healthiest thing for the child is to move himself from the stage of comforter to the plush by his own needs with our help.
The benefits of the cuddly toy and the plush toy on children
The relationship with these toys varies from one child to another, as each child is different in the way they give importance to these toys or their places.
Specifically regarding the comforter, children react differently. Some drag it around all day wherever it goes, no matter what it does. Others ask for it especially when they go to sleep. Some specifically ask for it at emotional times, like when they are grieving. Most often, when they are very happy, or even hurt. But most of all, they need their blanket or stuffed animal when a new environment disrupts their daily life.
How do children view their blanket?
In general, children adopt a blanket as a friend and can no longer be separated from it. We often think of it as a cuddly toy or a piece of cloth that toddlers like to snuggle, suck on or cuddle. Be careful, it’s comforting and helpful in his psychological and relational development.
So, to avoid a sudden change and disruption in the child’s daily life, provide two identical comforters. In this case, they keep a similar smell and texture without interruption. The comforter is a source of comfort and security for the child, because it establishes the link between the known and the unknown. That is, from the imaginary to the real world, from the knowledge of new sensations and in the approach with others.
How do children view their stuffed animals?
Let’s talk about the stuffed animal, which is more than a toy in the eyes of our children. Because even for us grown-ups at a certain point in our lives we need a cozy and scented object. The stuffed animal keeps us company and is often given as a gift. Well, it’s the same for every child. This stuffed animal becomes his confidant, his comfort, his friend, his second blanket and it will remain marked in his life. This is until the child no longer feels the need for inanimate company.
The stuffed animal becomes your child’s best friend and it must meet several qualities such as its softness, its scent and its specificity. When a child is with his stuffed animal, he is in his world, in his element. This allows him to develop emotionally. It also helps them understand the difference between their imaginary world and the real world.
These fetish objects, inseparable from our children, allow them to face :
- a stressful social environment: moving, changing daycare or school, exams, loneliness.
- fear: nightmares, going to the doctor, separation from parents.
How to help your children to separate from their blanket?
We know the importance of the comforter in the life of our child, yet at a certain age he must know that his world does not revolve only around him and his comforter and if he wants it, he must replace it with a toy appropriate to his age. So how can we best help him to separate from his blanket so that it doesn’t create a trauma for him.
Here are a few tips to help your child leave his blanket behind
- Avoid taking it away suddenly, i.e., pulling it away abruptly because he has to part with it, all the while thinking that he will grieve faster. On the contrary, it is a question of reassuring him on the fact that at his age the doudou is not the one he needs anymore. The more he leaves it behind, the sooner he will give up the habit of bringing his blanket everywhere he goes.
- Allow him to still have his blanket during important changes in his life, such as going back to school, when he is hurt, or just when he is still in the habit of asking for his blanket and in this case, you should leave it with him and as you make him understand that his blanket is no longer essential during these moments, he will leave it in a corner.
Other useful tips to help you
- At home, set up a special place for your child’s blanket where he or she can store it so that it is available and accessible at all times. Gradually, he will leave it more and more in this place, which he will visit to reassure himself or just to have a look at the good old blanket, but without taking it with him, because he will see it as a place where his blanket must be and where it will always be a sign of memory and comfort.
- You can also gradually encourage your child’s autonomy by spending more time with him doing activities that will help him in his psychic and emotional development, without the blanket being with him. These activities can be outdoor outings or games that will allow your child to gradually forget his dependence on the toy. And in this case you allow him to forget it or to let him know that the cuddly toy is in another stage of his life that either he opens up to others or he can afford to have a stuffed toy.