4 Reasons Why Stuffed Animals Are Important for Babies

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It’s no secret that little ones love their cuddly pals. After all, what’s not to love? But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that these imaginary companions play a more vital role in child development than you may think.

They provide much-needed comfort

Perhaps the most obvious function stuffed animals serve is to ease distress and anxiety. (Any parent who’s watched their baby’s tears turn to giggles at the sight of their favorite stuffed animal knows this to be true.) For infants, the world can sometimes feel like an uncertain, scary place. Stuffed toys can help them cope with these emotions because they represent familiarity and reassurance.

This is also important for gradually building your baby’s ability to self-soothe without the help of mom or dad. Big life events, like welcoming a sibling, for instance, can feel less threatening with a favorite stuffed buddy by your child’s side. In fact, Researchers at North Dakota State University say that cuddling a stuffed animal helps young children rely on their own ability to seek comfort. Just how powerful are the comforting powers of stuffed animals? One study found that they can relieve trauma in children exposed to war and terror.

They help develop social skills

When you see an infant loving on their favorite stuffed animal, it may not look like play. However, the truth is that these types of toys help lay the groundwork for fundamental social skills. Experts say that 12 to 18 months is the optimal time to start using toys like stuffed online casino animals and dolls to encourage pretend play. This often includes mimicking the familiar, everyday activities that casino online are part of their regular routines. Pretending to eat or drink from a bottle, for example, is a relatable activity that allows the child to take on the role of caregiver and use their imagination.

Allowing young children to immerse themselves in pretend play with other children is also profoundly important to social development. This online casino can include everything from siblings role-playing with stuffed casino online animals, to your child using their favorite stuffed toy to interact with a playmate at daycare. The point is that engaging in cooperative activities together bolsters social skills.

They foster language development

Engaging in pretend play also serves as a viable way of developing speech and language skills. Nurturing these emerging communication skills is crucial; so why not do it with their favorite stuffed animals? When you help your child act out playful role-playing scenes, talking is a natural part of the process. Think about it: What encourages the best use of language? Playing with blocks, or interacting with dolls? Another perk? Experts say that telling a story by making stuffed animals “talk” to each other is a powerful way of laying the groundwork for reading and writing.

For babies, you only have to rewind this scenario a bit to get the same effect. For example, if your infant is babbling, make their stuffed animals “talk” back to them during natural breaks in the babble. This will help promote conversational turn-taking.

They encourage compassion and empathy

Caring for a stuffed animal is tremendously helpful in nurturing your little one’s natural desire to connect with others. According to one Psychology Today report, children develop an appreciation for relationships with others during pretend play because it requires them to consider other people.

Pretending to care for a stuffed animal or doll also satisfies the need to nurture. The fact that young children tend to identify with stuffed animals may make them an ideal toy to use. Experts say that introducing a novel stuffed toy as a new member to a classroom who needs love and care can bolster both empathy and compassion. This directly translates to little ones at home. Taking care of Teddy forces your child to consider the toy’s “needs.”

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5 Easy DIY Pet Costumes for Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching! Are your furry family members ready for the big day?

We’re not sure how you feel, but to us there’s not much cuter (or hilarious) than a pet in costume. I mean, if they’ll cooperate with the shenanigans of dressing, staying still for the perfect photo op, why not? The cuteness factor is out of control and provides many giggles and Halloween spirit for the whole family!

Here are 5  DIY pet costumes that we love, that are easy to create and that won’t break the bank!

1. Skeleton Dog or Cat

A black hoodie or jacket and some fabric paint or (fabric marker) makes this easy, timeless and adorable! Get the full how-to at PetMd.com.

skeleton dog costume

Source: petmd.com

Source: PupStyle.com

Source: PupStyle.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. All Dolled Up

Come on, this is just hysterical. All you need is a scarf, some hair rollers and a pair of sun glasses (the bigger the better). Just about any animal with a decent size head can pull this off!

Source: Flickr User Photos by Mavis

Source: Flickr User Photos by Mavis Source: Flickr User Photos by Mavis via PopSugar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Your favorite Douglas Cuddle Toy

So, this might be our personal favorite 😉

Ollie the breathing Douglas Cuddle Toy

Ollie the breathing Douglas Cuddle Toy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Versatile enough for any pet; dog, cat, guinea pig, llama. you get it, right? Ollie, pictured here, got his great Douglas tag from a new product his owners had just purchased. They clipped off the Douglas tag, thread a piece of string through it and strung around Ollie’s neck (making sure to keep it loose).

You can also get creative and paint or draw or sew your own Douglas tag.

4. Petal Power

Add a bit of freshness and springy color this Halloween with a some pretty petals perfect for any size four legged friend!

source: smallfriendly.com

Source: smallfriendly.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love this concept because it can be customized based on size of pet and overall look you want to achieve. Petals can be made larger or smaller, overlap each other, vary in color, etc.

This simple tutorial from marthastewart.com instructs the use of a sewing machine to attach the petals to the collar. If sewing is not an option you can use a strong fabric adhesive like this one (available at most craft stores).

We also love the puffy, 3 dimensional petal look of the fantastic pug pictured above. Create this adorable one with tutorial from Small + Friendly blog.

5. Paw-cess Leia

Source: Make Magazine

Source: Make Magazine

Ok, it must be the buns, right? Anything Star Wars is always a hit. Classic, Hatimeless and recognizable by all.

Make Magazine brings the goods with DIY options for many Star Wars characters, including our favorite Princess Leia.

There you have it! Five fun costumes for your fave furry friend!

We would love to see how you dressed your pet/s up this Halloween! Post a picture on the Douglas facebook page or send us an email: fun@douglastoys.com

Happy Costuming!

 

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When It’s Time to Retire Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal

Douglas Stuffed Dog

Your child’s most treasured stuffed animal is more than just a toy – it consoles them, brings them comfort, and reassures them during times of transition or uncertainty. When you get down to it, there’s a reason pediatricians refer to them as “comfort objects.”

While some parents fret that their little one is too attached to a special furry friend, experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics reassure that coveting a transitional object is a perfectly normal part of healthy development. In fact, most children don’t start separating themselves from their lovey object until age 5 or 6.

When it comes to your little one’s favorite stuffed animal, chances are it’s gotten beat up along the way. If breathing new life into it is no longer an option, here are some tips for retiring your child’s lovey with minimal drama.

Knowing When to Say Goodbye

So how can you tell if Teddy is ready for retirement? Look out for these telltale signs.

  • Rips, tears, and loose parts or accessories: Fortunately, most of today’s stuffed animals are tested to meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s CPSIA Toy Safety Standards. Even so, not all toys are created equal, and some toys still wear out sooner than others. If parts or accessories become loose, they can pose a serious choking hazard for little ones. Repair is not recommended, as most people don’t have the sewing skills or best replacement parts to return the toy to its original durability. (Plus, you still run the risk of it happening again in the future.) For this reason it’s time to say goodbye for the sake of safety.
  • Dirt and stains: If your child’s lovey follows him everywhere he goes (from his bed, to preschool, to the bathroom), the toy can actually become a magnet for germs. This inevitably leads to constant washing, which will likely wear out Teddy. If you don’t have a backup toy to use in between wash cycles, it’s best to keep dirty, allergen-packed stuffed animals out of your kid’s hands.

 Hand washing is sometimes the best way to clean up an old stuffed friend to avoid further wear and tear. But if a stuffed animal is in otherwise good condition, conventional washing inside a pillowcase should clean away most problems. If stains remain, it may not diminish your child’s love for the stuffed toy, but you still may prefer the fresher look of a new one.

 

How to Introduce a New Stuffed Animal

Explaining to your little one that it’s time to say goodbye to their comfort object can be tricky. (Any parent who’s had to turn the car around to pick up a forgotten Teddy online casino will tell you – losing your child’s favorite stuffed animal triggers automatic tears.) But despite this, experts actually say that kids bounce back faster than you think. The best remedy is prevention. That means that during those early years, it’s a good idea to purchase a backup of the beloved stuffed toy. This way they can be easily swopped out, washed and replaced on a regular basis. Plus, if one gets lost, you’re prepared.

When it comes to backup stuffed animal, we’ve got you covered casino online with an exclusive Twofer program available for any of our baby items, including our plush Lil Snugglers. (How does it work? Simply enter promotion code 2FER at checkout and get 10% off when you purchase two of the same baby product.)

Perhaps the most valuable thing to remember when introducing a new stuffed animal is that kids aren’t stupid. In fact, one study of children 3-6 years old found that many children will resistswapping their comfort object for an identical one. For this reason, try being upfront with your little one while introducing something entirely new. Also, make the conversational tone light and playful. And to make the transition as smooth as possible, keep these tips in mind.

  • Don”t make the change during a time of transition: Potty training? Starting preschool? Welcoming a new sibling? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may not be the ideal time to introduce a new comfort object. During periods of change, toddlers especially cling to these special toys for reassurance and support. If possible, time the introduction of a new toy during a non-transitional period.
  • Do it gradually: Instead of abruptly swiping your child’s favorite stuffed animal, take your time with it. Slowly over time, introduce a new cuddly friend who “needs a home.” Let your little one get to know it while steadily decreasing time with their old favorite.
  • Include your child in the change: Instead of making your child feel like something’s being taken away from them, have them play a more active role in the transition. After introducing a new toy, give it a story. Is this soft new Stuffed Friend from a faraway land? Why does he need a new home? What’s his name? On the flip side, creating an engaging story about the old stuffed animal can cushion the blow of saying goodbye.

 

 

 

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3 Classic Bedtime Stories to Read to Your Kids

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