New research shows adults are still attached to childhood toys

  • 70% of parents pass their childhood cuddly toys down to their own children
  • Men are more likely than women to pass their childhood toys down
  • Psychologist Lee Chambers explains how soft toys can encourage empathy in kids

Although in recent years, the soft toy has been cast aside in favour of shinier gadgets, new research shows British adults are still attached to their childhood toys.

A survey of 2,000 Brits from eco-friendly toy brand Living Nature shows that 7 in 10 (70%) of parents developed such a strong attachment to their childhood cuddly toys that they have passed theirs down to their own children.

Surprisingly, men are more likely to pass down their childhood soft toys, with almost three quarters (73%) giving their children their boyhood soft toys. Comparatively, 67% of female parents passed theirs down.

Child psychologist and wellbeing expert Lee Chambers, in collaboration with Living Nature, is revealing why children become so attached to their stuffed toys.

Lee Chambers says, “Children develop feelings of empathy over the course of their childhood, as they interact with the world and form relationships with others. Some of the most formative friendships children have are with their cuddly toys.

“These toys can bring a greater sense of security when moving through life stages or challenging events. The external circumstances change but the toy remains the same, producing a secure anchor to transition from.

“Furthermore, stuffed animals have been known to help with securing attachments and even rebuilding impaired attachment bonds. These bonds play a significant role in mental wellbeing, reported happiness and quality of life.”

Over 3 in 5 parents (68%) would prefer for their child to play with soft toys over electrical gadgets. When quizzed why, over half (57%) said that soft toys inspire a wider and more vivid imagination, while 58% said that it’s easier to find a soft toy tailored to their child’s interests.

Lee Chambers explains the benefits of children playing with soft toys: “We know from a variety of studies that petting animals can reduce cortisol in humans, lower blood pressure and heart rate, ultimately relieving stress and promoting calmness.

“Touching a stuffed toy, especially when faced with a significant fear, can provide similar soothing benefits according to research; creating more comfort and calmness, especially in those with lower self-esteem.

“The majority of studies agree that children are more likely to be compassionate and empathetic if they have healthy attachments and a clearer sense of self and non-self.

“Giving your child a soft toy can be a hugely positive tool in helping your child to understand and be sensitive to the moods and needs of others.”

With Living Nature’s uniquely diverse range of over 200 animals, there’s a cuddly soft friend for everyone. Find your perfect Living Nature buddy today: Shop Animal Toys