How A Stuffed Animal Can Help Kids Grieve

girl whispering to stuffed bear

Coping with loss is hard for everyone, but it can be especially hard on kids. Children often struggle with the finality of death, whether they are dealing with the loss of a relative or loved one or even a pet. When children are faced with loss they often don't know how to articulate their feelings since they're so young, so it's important to help them find ways to channel their emotions and grieve the loss they're feeling.

Stuffed animals have long given comfort to children when they need it, and in the case of a loss a stuffed animal can provide much needed soothing to a child in need. Grief affects children in similar ways it affects adults, but children often have a hard time expressing their feelings surrounding grief. Many experts suggest getting a child a stuffed animal they can use to comfort themselves when they're feeling sad.

In the event of the loss of a pet, which can often be as heartbreaking as the loss of a family member or loved one for a child, a stuffed animal that looks similar to the pet that was lost helps a child channel their grief through the stuffie. It shows the child that it's OK to talk about their feelings and how much they miss their lost pet. It encourages the child to remember the pet they lost and feel happy about the times they shared together as well as feeling sad they're no longer around. Some companies even sell custom stuffed animals to help your child deal with the loss of the family pet.

One mom wrote about how she used stuffed animals to help her children grieve the loss of their grandfather. She took her two children shopping and purchased three identical new stuffed animals, one for each of them and one to put in with their grandfather when he was buried. Knowing they each had the same stuffed animals was a reminder to them that they were still connected to their grandfather even though he was no longer with them. They could carry those stuffed animals with them for as long as they needed, or simply cuddle with them when they felt they needed to.

Child development experts say that around 60% of toddlers have an attachment to a stuffed animal or blanket, so using a stuffed animal to help a child grieve simply makes sense. The sense of security it gives them when they're dealing with loss is not only a comfort to them, but can also help parents explain  according to child-development experts. This is an important method of helping children feel secure after a devastating loss and can help you when parenting through their grief.

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