4 ways a teddy bear brings comfort

A little girl sitting in a wheelchair and wearing an oxygen mask cuddles her TKCP teddy bear for comfort.
Paediatric experts explain why a cuddly toy is a great donation for a child in hospital.
  1. A teddy for procedure prep
  2. A teddy for life
  3. A teddy for therapy
  4. A teddy for sensory stimulation

Two paediatric experts share why, when it comes to deciding what toys to donate to children in hospital, you should think no further than soft and snuggly teddy bears. 

And if you’ve ever donated one of The Kids’ Cancer Project stuffed teddy bears to a child in hospital, you’ll know that your donation not only brings comfort but it also helps fund vital childhood cancer research to boot!

4 ways a teddy bear brings comfort

1. A teddy for procedure prep

Ariella Lew, an experienced paediatric nurse and Founder and Director of Kids on Track Consultancy, says she’ll never forget the first time she watched a play therapist give a child a teddy bear to demonstrate the procedure that they were going to have done. She explains:

The child watched in wonder and couldn’t believe it when they were given the teddy bear to keep.

Using teddy bears as a preparation toy or as the marking of a milestone procedure is a wonderful way to allow children to articulate their thoughts, feelings and fears through play and also to be allowed to continue to process this as they get to keep the teddy.

A small child cuddles a teddy bear that has an oxygen mask on, demonstrating the treatment that will be provided.
A small child, whose hair has fallen out during treatment, smiles while cuddling a TKCP teddy bear.

2. A teddy for therapy

Teddy bears are a simple and holistic alternative that benefit children in all phases of illness from diagnosis, treatment cycles and in recovery phase shares Deb Herdman, a Nurse Sleep Specialist and creator of Nigh Nigh, a sleep consultancy and sleep resources for all ages. She explains:

Cuddling your favourite ted not only gives psychological comfort as a companion, friend and confidant but also has benefits to physical health.

By helping to release hormones that make you feel less stressed and anxious means vital signs like respiratory rate and heart rate regulate and less anxiety can mean less pain...Teddies are tangible, can be cuddled, stroked, dressed and spoken to, providing comfort whenever it’s needed.

3. A teddy for sensory stimulation

Ariella, quoted earlier, continues:

The comforting nature of cuddling a teddy bear is huge and for many children gives a dose of a sensory stimulation often missing in hospital in a sterile environment.

The feeling of a teddy bear who becomes a friend replacement (like a pet or friend from the outside world) is something I have witnessed many times and is lovely to see. I have watched many a health professional talk to children through their teddy bears!

A small child wearing a Rudolf onesie smiles while examining a teddy bear dressed like Santa Claus.
A backlit picture with the silhouette of a girl holding a teddy bear up and close to her face.

4. A teddy for life

One of the most amazing things about teddy bears that Ariella has observed, is that they don’t age. 

I know of patients now grown up who have teddy bears on their own children’s beds that remind them of their journeys and of times that they overcame...These rewards, in the form of teddy bears in these instances, are comforting and safe reminders of a difficult time and what has been survived. They can almost become family heirlooms!