Do children really need toys to relieve stress? | Mirror

It is important that the toy is safe and durable and does not make noise or volume that distracts the attention of those using it or those around it, while taking into account each child’s sensory preferences in terms of texture, shape and color, meaning that we should not impose a game of your choice.

Spinner may be the most popular anti-boredom game, but that doesn’t mean it’s the first of its kind. These games have been around for centuries and have only become popular in recent decades. Yo-yo and Rubik’s cube are well-known, and all of these games are mainly intended to fight boredom and improve concentration.

The history of games to relieve boredom goes back to China about 3,500 years ago, specifically in a small town in Baoding, in the north of the country.

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine invented “baoding balls” or relaxation balls, which are two small balls that can be held in one hand, and when a person rolls the two balls in the palm of their hand, they keep changing positions. With practice, the hand learns to handle two balls without them touching. These balls improve brain function while exercising arm muscles and help reduce stress and increase relaxation.

Yellow ball to combat stress and pressure (Shutterstock)

Boredom relief games were originally designed to help children with special needs focus because of their constant need to move, focus on their thoughts, and stay calm.

They call them tools for boredom, because they are actually tools that have a specific purpose and are not just games, because they help regulate breathing and relaxation, but the matter differs from child to child.

There are balls, cubes, rings and objects of different textures, from flexibility, hardness, roughness and softness. They can also help children stop sucking their fingers, pulling on clothes or picking things up around them.

dr. Jennifer Crosby, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Hospital in Toronto, believes that boredom games can actually be beneficial, but the devices common among children today are more toys than tools and likely won’t have the desired effect.

And he believes that some of the tools in children’s toy stores are not only not useful at the moment, but also – contrary to what is expected of them – distract children’s attention.

The secret appeal of boredom games

Richard Gottlieb, CEO of Global Toy Experts and publisher of Toy Report, written by industry researchers, says toys are as satisfying as twirling a pencil through our fingers. Therefore, children enjoy it, especially in different colors and shapes, and exchange it with their friends.

Games are not complicated and not about achieving a goal or outcome, but just a way to keep kids busy and proof that traditional things can do a lot, even if it’s just helping a child relax in the back seat of the car and play a toy against boredom.

Games for adults and children to treat stress and tension (Shutterstock)

There is another opinion as to why games that reduce boredom are so attractive to children. Katrin Eisbister, a researcher of computer interaction and human games and professor of computer media at the University of California, attributes this to the non-digital nature of these games and their closeness to real life.

“We have amazing hand-eye coordination and have a strong sense of touch that allows us to know where we are in the world around us. These touch and finger games are unconsciously practicing the fine motor skills that children need.”

How do boredom busting games work?

Children often look for additional sensory aids that they do not get from their environment, and the more sensory aids they have, the more organized their mind becomes.

And the need for tools arises in times of boredom or long waiting, for example in the doctor’s office, in a restaurant or even at school when classes are boring.

The concept of boredom games is based on this meaning, with children looking for things to touch and feel to provide just the right amount of sensory assistance to calm their nervous system.

Sometimes these games are used to improve focus and attention and allow the brain to receive additional sensory information, by occupying the hand with a game that targets the touch system, especially since the hands are stimuli for attention and communication with the outside world.

A colorful game to relieve anxiety and stress during exams (Shutterstock)

How to choose the right game?

It is important that the toy is safe and durable and does not make noise or fuss that distracts the attention of those using it or those around it, while taking into account each child’s sensory preferences for texture, shape and color.

In the sense that the child should not be forced to play a game of his own choice, because this game gives the child the space to stop his fears with his own motor rhythm, which eventually leads to self-soothing.

Some babies like a squishy texture, others prefer a cloth texture, and one child may want a quiet “ticking” sound. But at the same time, doctors emphasize the need to stay away from very small toys that can pose a choking risk for children.

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