Our children are always our highest priority. Putting our children before any and everything else is one of the first things parents learn when they realize that the future of somebody so small and helpless depends on them. Knowing you have the responsibility to ensure that your child has a bright, meaningful, and satisfying life feels like the world’s highest priority.
The most significant worry for millions of parents worldwide is making sure that their child has a childhood that teaches them to be good human beings.
Towards that end, teaching them empathy is naturally an important step. Empathy teaches them to appreciate the thoughts, feelings, and desires of others and helps them deal with different types of situations better.
What is empathy, you ask?
What Is Empathy?
Empathy is being able to imagine what somebody else is feeling in a particular situation, and having the thoughtfulness to respond appropriately.
That definition might be a bit too vague for some people. In simple terms, Empathy is knowing and incorporating the following principles in your life:
- Knowing That You’re Your Person: Empathy isn’t just about understanding others. It’s also knowing that you’re your person, and you’re entitled to having your thoughts and feelings to different things.
- Knowing Others Won’t Always Share Your Reactions: Humans react to everything. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions are all ways we express how we feel about a particular thing. The basic concept of empathy means understanding that others will often have a different reaction to something than you, and having the maturity to accept that.
- Understanding And Differentiating Between Emotions: A big part of understanding other people is knowing what different emotions feel like. Anger, happiness, sadness, disappointment, surprise: all of these are things that motivate us to take different kinds of actions.
- Reacting Appropriately: This might be the most important benefit of taking the trouble to teach your child empathy. Children don’t like seeing people sad, and will often offer somebody else toys or a hug if they see them crying. Actions like comforting a sad person or congratulating somebody happy about something build the foundation of your child’s interaction with the word.
Empathy is important for the emotional development of your child, and teaching them empathy will ultimately contribute the most towards making them good human beings.
How Playing with A Teddy Bear Helps Develop Empathy
Every young child needs any number of things to grow up with a healthy mental physique. Physiological needs like food, water, and rest go without saying, as does having the assurance that they’re completely safe from harm in their home.
Besides physiological needs, a child also needs emotional security and comfort. A child needs parents, guardians, and emotionally available friends, and especially somebody who comforts them when they’re sad or get hurt.
However, that’s not it. Every child also needs something else: a toy, that for most of us was a teddy. Teddies, bears, and bunny rabbit toys fit this role perfectly.
When it comes to small children, teddies don’t just massively help in emotional development, they also help the child develop their personality, and encourage them in being able to talk about their issues.
What Benefits Can Your Child Get from Playing with Teddies?
Teddies are one of the most popular choices for the first toy for children. Most of us who remember our childhood fondly probably have sweet memories of a particular teddy we used to play with.
The reason for this is that children associate smell memory with anything they spend a lot of time with. When a child sleeps beside, cuddles, or even plays with a teddy, they leave a personal smell on it, which they later learn to associate with positive feelings like comfort, happiness, and the satisfaction of sleeping when they’re tired out.
Besides smell memory, there are lots of other benefits that teddies can help develop in your child, like:
1. Their Faces Give Them Personalities
Even if you’re the most dedicated parent in the world, there will be times you have to be away from your child. You could be at work, making sure you provide your family with a secure life, or even cooking dinner for your child. While both of these are just as important, your child still needs company. This is where teddies come in.
Children’s mental healthcare specialists around the world agree on the fact that the best thing about teddy bears is that their faces give them personalities in the minds of children.
They learn to talk to their teddy when nobody else is around and tell them embarrassing secrets and worries that they can’t tell their parents.
This helps them develop their communication capabilities, and ultimately be more accepting of feelings, whether they’re their own or somebody else’s.
2. Comfort During the Worst Times
Children lucky enough to have the attention of loving parents usually don’t need anything more, but even then, there are times even they can’t get a child to stop crying. Usually happening when they’re extremely sad or disappointed, children will often choose to confide in a teddy they associate with feelings of security.
This also applies to when they’re sleeping. Children learning to sleep alone for the first time will benefit hugely from having a cuddle teddy for when they’re sleeping. This not only helps them relax and get used to sleeping alone but also ensures that they get the proper rest they need every day.
However, there’s a note that often goes unsaid. Children who have a cuddle teddy will also understand what they’d feel if the teddy was taken away, feelings like sadness, loneliness, and of course disappointment.
Ultimately, this can go a long way towards helping them accept people having feelings of loneliness or inferiority, and even teaches them to be comforting to them.
Conclusion: Using A Teddy Bear to Teach Your Child Empathy
Teddies aren’t just completely for children. Parents can include interactions with their children’s teddies when trying to teach them something, and this especially extends to empathy.
When you’re trying to teach your child the value of making somebody feel like they’re important, giving your child a teddy to cuddle plays a big part. Having their favorite teddy like recordable heartbeat bears in their arms makes them feel secure and happy themselves, making them more open-minded towards anything you say.
Parents trying to emulate a scenario can ask their child’s favorite teddy questions to help their child understand different types of emotions. A popular question with a lot of parents involves two of their child’s favorite toys.
For example, let’s consider a bear and a giraffe toy. Parents make the giraffe say that they don’t want to take turns with the bear toy, and then ask their child what the bear would feel if they didn’t play with them at all to help them understand feelings of disappointment.
You can invent creative ways of using toys and teddies to develop your child’s sense of empathy or just let nature do its thing and allow them to learn over time. Regardless of the option you choose, there’s no doubt that teddies are one of the most beneficial tools for developing emotional maturity and empathy in children.