Importance of stuffed animals

A stuffed animal isn’t merely something you trip over in your child’s bedroom. It’s so much more. A lovey, a stuffie, a plushie, a boopie, a comfort object, a cuddly toy, a soft toy – all names for the beloved stuffed animals that enter our kids’ lives.

I come from a long line of stuffed animal lovers. My mom and aunt used to bring all their stuffed animals on vacations. Every last one of them would be tucked under the covers of the hotel bed.

My kids, five and three, inherited the stuffed animal gene. My 5-year-old son calls his collection of animals his “Animal Super Team”. They are his close friends and play a big part in our day.

Why are stuffed animals so important?

  1. A stuffed animal is a kid’s first friend.
  2. The relationship between a kid and a stuffed animal is one of unconditional love. The stuffed animal accepts the child and his every emotion.
  3. The kid and the stuffed animal act out real-life interactions like quarrels.
  4. A stuffed animal allows a kid to navigate the ups and downs of childhood.
  5. It helps a kid move from dependence to independence.

I often think about my day in the life of a stay-at-home mom and how I’m spending the minutes. A good chunk of my time is spent with my children’s loveys. And before you know it, you’re a stuffed animal mom.

A day in the life of a stuffed animal household:

7:30 am – Wake up (kids). Kids and stuffed animals are dragged into Mom and Dad’s bed!

8:00 am – Wake up (adults lololol). Get kids their breakfast. Feed the cat. Turn on the favorite cartoon a la mode. Right now it’s “Storybots!” on Netflix. Husband and wife enjoy coffee together, a necessary morning ritual.

8:30 am – Everyone scrambles to get dressed with the hopes of leaving the house around 8:45 am, but never actually doing that…Around 8:55 am, run back into the house to grab a forgotten stuffed animal.

9:00 am – Arrive at school, put MeMe (cat blanket) and Bebe (white newborn blanket) in my 3-year-old daughter’s backpack for safekeeping. An “Animal Super Team” member stays behind in the car to greet son after school.

9:30 am – Go to gym.

10:00 am – Run and do core strength exercises.

10:30 am – First, straighten downstairs. Next, tidy upstairs. After beds are made, strategically arrange favorite stuffed animals from son’s “Animal Super Team” on his bed: Sloth; Orange (ball); Red, Red, Red (monkey), Octy (octopus), Owly (owl). This is a joy moment in the day. Finally, clean up the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, and load the dirty breakfast dishes. Wash soiled stuffed animals. (Although, the smell and dirtiness is part of what makes the stuffed animal so comforting and reminds children of home.)

11:00 am – Take a shower from gym workout and get dressed.

11:30 am – Yay, it’s time to work on a personal project. Do readings for online coursework towards renewing English 7-12 teaching license. (formerly a high school English teacher)

12:00 pm – Continue to work on a personal project. It varies by day. Sometimes it’s finding a lost stuffed animal.

12:30 pm – Lunchtime. Nah. Feast on the children’s fast food scraps instead.

1:00 pm – Time to pick up the kids from school!

1:30 pm – Naptime / rest time

2:00 pm – Naptime / rest time

2:30 pm – Naptime / rest time

3:00 pm – Naptime / rest time

3:30 pm – Play a bowling game with the stuffed animals. Line up the stuffed animals like pins and knock them down with a ball.

4:00 pm – Take pictures of stuffed animals on iPad or Mom’s phone.

4:30 pm – Play sleepover with animals. Put them in sleeping bags on the living room floor and turn off the lights.

5:00 pm – Son makes a reward chart for Guanice, his Hot Wheels racing bear. If he’s a good bear and does his chores, eats his meals/tries new foods, practices good hygiene, dresses himself, etc., he’ll get a prize after he completes the chart – perhaps a new “Animal Super Team” friend?!

5:30 pm – Kids watch a Netflix show during dinner preparation.

6:00 pm – Eat dinner. Sometimes a stuffed animal is the guest of honor.

6:30 pm – Family time

7:00 pm – Family time

7:30 pm – Take a bath. Have a fight that the stuffed animals can’t go into the bathtub.

8:00 pm – Read a book and go to bed. Start laying out the menagerie of animals in each kid’s bed to their specifications.

Can you see how my day is filled with stuffed animals?!? Is yours too?


A Final Thought – From the Pillow

You’re never too old for a stuffed animal.

So follow the example of your children and snuggle with a stuffed animal as a form of self-care.

Do stuffed animals play a big role in your household?

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