Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stuffed toys ease kids' stress

Caring for a stuffed animal appears to alleviate stress signs in young children exposed to traumatic or stressful life events, Israeli researchers report.

"Shifting attention from oneself to others can be very healthy for individuals under stressful times," Dr Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University said.

Sadeh and colleagues tested whether giving war-stressed children a toy to care for would ease the stress reactions from their exposure to the month-long 2006 conflict between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah in northern Israel and southern Lebanon.

During the last three days of this conflict, the investigators provided 40 boys and 34 girls, who were about five years old on average, with a stuffed, cocker spaniel-type toy, called the Huggy-Puppy, with long legs that enabled the children to wrap the toy around their arms or legs.

The children, who were living with their families in a shelter camp, were told the puppy was sad because he was far from home, didn't have friends, and needed a care from a buddy. Their parents were encouraged to remind them of this responsibility.

Parental reports indicated that nearly 83% of these children had experienced one or more symptom of severe stress, such as separation fears; nervousness or aggression, , the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.
In assessments three weeks after receiving their puppy, the children with the strongest attachment to their toy had lower stress levels.

10 Comments:

At January 15, 2008 at 6:07 AM, Blogger Tom & Icy said...

That is very believable. I also heard that in everyday life that petting, holding live animal pets like dogs and cats reduce stress and lower blood pressure in adults, especially elderly.
Those conflicts seem to do long term harm to children even though the combatants claim they are fighting for the well being of the children's future. War is so ironic.

 
At January 15, 2008 at 7:05 AM, Blogger Seraphine said...

People react differently to stress. A stuffed animal can do no harm. It is always something nice to give, even in non-stressful situations.
As an adult, I react to stress differently. I internalize it and express it through art.
Giving a child something to draw with is another nice thing to do.

 
At January 15, 2008 at 3:38 PM, Blogger Nessa said...

I believe this. It would give them a sense of control and purpose beyond themselves.

 
At January 16, 2008 at 12:54 AM, Blogger Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Raghu,
Children treat their stuffed toys as though they are alive. They talk to them and take care of them. I think the Israeli researchers hit it right when they gave these stuffed toys to warn torn children. It shows how easily they can regain their equilibrium by taking care of their stuffed toys. Thanks for the wonderful post. God bless and have a wonderful and pleasant day always.

 
At January 16, 2008 at 3:16 AM, Blogger backpakker said...

Stuffed toys to many children are like living creatures...calvin and hobbes for example..the adult mind thinks its a toy, but to the child, its a pet

 
At January 17, 2008 at 10:48 PM, Blogger samrina said...

Well the softness and warmth of stuff toys i believe brings any kid a sense of security, a feeling that they are been hugged and closed to anyone...

Take care

 
At January 18, 2008 at 1:34 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Thanks for this Raghu, I'll definitely pass it on to my sister.

 
At January 19, 2008 at 5:38 AM, Blogger Hammett said...

That's so informative... now, where's my barbie... ;)

 
At January 20, 2008 at 3:21 AM, Blogger Kalyan said...

lovely reading this post...I have to check out your observations...but yes children learn a lot from toys also...thanks for sharing the info.!

 
At February 5, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Blogger G said...

This makes so much sense. In my younger child's kindergarten class, the teacher passes out stuffed animals to the children so they can calm themselves and settle back into the afternoon lessons. It works like a charm.

thanks for your recent visit.

 

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