Getting Kids to Sleep with Just One Toy—the Stuffed Animal

super stuffed animal toy

Maybe you’ve been there—it’s bedtime, and your child is fighting sleep with everything they’ve got. Maybe they’re manufacturing excuse after excuse to get out of bed, or maybe they’re simply claiming that they’re not tired, even though their eyes are drooping and they’re clearly struggling to stay awake. So, you scoop them up and tuck them into bed even though you’re doing so with the knowledge that tonight, they’ll be back out of bed in no time. However, they don’t have to be. Your nights don’t need to keep being the endless cycle of in and out of bed you’ve grown to dread. With the power of just one toy, you can promote a relaxed and restful sleep and help them stay asleep all night. This supertoy? The stuffed animal—and here’s why.

Stuffed Animals Provide Comfort

Sleeping with a soft object can be beneficial for sleeping habits, and stuffed animals are the perfect solution for children who need comfort. For children, stuffed toys can create feelings of calm and relaxation critical to a night of deep, fulfilling sleep. Staying comfortable also helps keep away feelings of restlessness as the child approaches sleep. When parents create a bedtime habit that includes stuffed animals, the object will create associations over time, triggering readiness for bedtime. Including the stuffed animal when comforting or cuddling a child helps them grow an attachment that will help during the nighttime routine. Feeling softness and comfort is important when drifting off to sleep.

Stuffed Animals Provide Safety and Security

Feeling safe and secure is also important, particularly for children who must trust that all will be well around them as they go to sleep. This is a primary reason falling asleep and staying asleep can be difficult for children—if they don’t feel they can trust their own safety after they fall asleep, they may attempt to stay awake by any means necessary. With the presence of a comfort object like a stuffed animal, children can feel safe, even when in bed alone in a dark room. They’ll feel loved, surrounded, and secure, which can also aid in relaxation. When humans feel safe and start relaxing in this way, overall heart rate decreases, making falling asleep much more likely. In both ways, having a stuffed animal companion can help create the safe, secure atmosphere vital for slumber.

Decreased Anxiety

Much like the way a stuffed animal encourages feelings of safety and security, it also relieves general feelings of anxiety. We’ve all experienced how stress, worry, and unease can prevent sleep. Anxiety can also drive racing thoughts, and while the thoughts of children may not be as complex as those of adults at bedtime, anxiety is still a chief cause of insomnia. In fact, research shows that sleep patterns are easily interrupted by feelings of anxiety and stress. For children and adults alike, negative feelings and emotions are often alleviated with the help of a stuffed animal. With their best friend snuggled in next to them, children can rest easy knowing they’ll be safe and that worries can wait until another day. Relief from worry is important to achieve falling asleep. When completely relaxed and calm, the quality of a child’s sleep can also improve greatly.

Help with Grief and Transition

Big changes happen in children’s lives quite frequently. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the perceived loss of a close friend, or even simply moving to a new home, these things represent unknowns, uncertainty, and loss in a child’s life. As a result, this uncertainty and loss can lead to grief, worry, and stress that can cause restlessness. While negative feelings can take away from the general state of rest and relaxation necessary for a bedtime ritual, a stuffed animal can help children gain the confidence and independence to navigate negative emotions independently. Stuffed toys are often transition objects and can help children move into new situations with more confidence, supplying a potential avenue for emotional release. When children feel confident, they feel safe and emotionally fulfilled. They will have an easier time falling and staying asleep.

Stuffed Animals Create Connections

Often, we associate the objects we receive with positive feelings regarding whomever gifted them. Much the same connections occur with children and their stuffed animals. If a favorite stuffed animal was given to a child by their parents, they’ll feel a connection to their parents when holding or playing with that stuffed animal. This connection is important for soothing a child during bedtime. Consider this: you’ve left your child with a babysitter, and they’ll have to go through the motions of the bedtime routine with an unfamiliar adult instead of a much-loved parent. When they snuggle up with their stuffed toy, they’ll feel the familiar connection to their parent, even though they’re away. The sensation represents a warm memory, and the stuffed animal will help the child self-soothe and be able to gently drift off to sleep. Similarly, a favorite stuffed animal can also help a child soothe themselves back to sleep if the goal is to move away from co-sleeping. A comfort object like a stuffed animal can remind your child of you, helping them maintain the connection necessary so they won’t feel the need to leave their bed for yours.

Stuffies Can Influence Oxytocin

When children cuddle with their stuffed toy, the brain can release oxytocin, which plays a part in feelings of trust, social bonding, and attachment. Children who snuggle with their favorite stuffed animal thus surround themselves with feelings of love. This love—along with enjoyment and a sense of calm—makes stuffed animals perfect for bedtime rituals. The release of oxytocin also helps children feel relaxed and serene, two particularly important requirements for a good night’s sleep.

Plushies are Perfect for Snuggles

Stuffed animals are soft, soothing, and ideal for cuddling. Even as adults, we know that feeling cozy is the ultimate way to promote rest and drowsiness. Stuffed toys are made for snuggling, and that’s why they’re perfect for sleep. Whether your child needs feelings of security, comfort, love, or that simple softness, stuffed toys are the ultimate bedtime companion. Establishing a routine for bedtime is essential for successful, quality sleep, and a stuffed toy is the ideal way to help your child fall—and stay—asleep.

Where to find a stuffed animal online

Here's where you can get a great selection of stuffed animals:



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