Why stuffed animals mean so much to kids
Most people can relate to having a stuffed animal when young.. This fascination with animals has always been with us.
If you were to ask, a lot of people would admit to having a teddy or some other stuffed animal when they were young and in fact, they still have it hanging around. That might be because the person who gave it to them was special or it could be they still feel that feeling of trust and confidence when they hold it.
As parents, one of the gifts we associate with children is stuffed animals. We sense the pleasure little ones find in those big eyes, fluffy ears and body. That same understanding when kids grow a bit older happens between kids and their pets. Animals are not perceived as a threat and oddly enough, the pet is usually attracted to kids.
My feeling is that we have a universal sense of connection that we find with stuffed animals and pets that goes on to extend to wild animals although with some reservation and obvious safeguards. We know they are not so different from us in their needs and so they are relatable.
When I was young, we always had cats in the home. I would talk to them and hug them as much as they would allow. Every kid tried to dress up pets too and use them to represent a family member in an imaginary sense. Pets are usually small enough for kids to relate to and pose no threat. And, no matter what, they are great listeners.
So the journey to being more trusting, to finding self confidence and acceptance begins with a stuffed animal. My books have animals in them to guide the child figure in the book. Kids see this and imagine themselves in the place of that child. In that way, I hope to help kids to find courage.