Why Do We Need Bear hugs?
Whats so great about Bears?
Teddy bears aren’t just cuddly, cute, and precious items for children to hold onto, they are important for social development and dealing with difficult circumstances and emotions. They are one of the most important and popular transitional objects for children. These transitional objects (TO’s) are keys to childhood development as they learn how to maintain themselves individually and within relationships. While teddy bears seem like they are only for children, our lives get more stressful as we get older and the need for these TO’s increases. Teddy bears help us de-stress and get ourselves through those difficult times just as they did when we were children.
What are Transitional Objects?
Transitional objects are some of the most important tools of parenting, from attachment to separation. Often, parents will hold and care for their child with a teddy bear alongside them. But as time goes on, and parents return to their jobs they have to leave their children. Here is where everything about a teddy bear becomes important in this transition process. The soft body and paws offer a warm reminder of a mother’s embrace, the face (though it isn’t human) helps with early cognition as they associate it with comfort and their plush and often shaggy fur retains the scent of their home. As explained in this study, because our olfactory bulb (or smell receptor) is closely connected to our amygdala and hippocampus (the parts of the brain that store our memories and emotions), scent is one of the strongest triggers for our memories and emotions. This allows a teddy bear to give us both the physical and emotional feeling of not being alone, while triggering comforting memories. This is great for moments of separation anxiety as children will cling to their bears for a long time, bringing them back to their parent’s loving embrace. Teddy bears are the physical reminder of a parent's touch as well as a comforting and consistent presence when they are left alone.
Friends are Forever
But these bears are more than just comforting when children are young. They also play a major role in social development that will affect how they learn and grow for the rest of their lives. It affects how they learn in social settings, and interact with others. These TO’s aren’t just stuffed bears to the children. They are their first friends and how they treat their bears are often a reflection of how they will treat and deal with others. Children will care for their objects as their parents would care for them; feeding them, cuddling them when they sleep, and even assigning them their own feelings and personalities. While this is pretty common, considering the creativity of children, it also shows an increasing self-awareness and ability to recognize their own feelings and even those of their peers. This recognition plays an important part in learning to acknowledge their own feelings, primarily those of loneliness that can cause anxiety and depression. These feelings are further combated by comfort from their TO’s, and ultimately help children develop a caring character as they often see their objects as their own to care for.
So why Bears for Bear Givers?
Our bears are consistent, warm, and comforting. They help us handle anxiety, separation and fear of the unknown, as well as helping us garner self-confidence as we begin to take on life without our parents. This is why at Bear Givers, we believe all children deserve to feel the comfort and companionship of a cuddly bear, as well as the impact they have on the children we deliver them to as they learn the power of giving. So next time you see shelves full of teddy bears, remember they are more than individual objects, each and every one of those will become someone’s comfort and friend.