A toy soldier has been used as a coping tool to help children cope with their stress, according to research presented at the International Conference on Social Communication in Berlin.
The toy soldiers, which are small, plastic balls, have become popular as a means of helping children cope after a traumatic event, said study co-author Håkan Thorsen, a psychologist at the University of Southern Denmark.
Thorsen and his colleagues asked parents and school teachers to write down the names of three toys they would use to play with their children during an exam.
When asked if they would ever use the toys, 60 percent of parents said yes.
The toys included a giant doll called The Lionheart, a small ball called the Little Bear and a giant stuffed animal called The Poodle.
The researchers found that children who had the toys were more likely to use them after the exam, when they were crying.
The study also found that when children had the toy soldiers in their care, they also reported more negative emotions, such as anger, depression and sadness, and fewer positive emotions, like happiness, love and laughter.
In a second study, the researchers found children who used the toys in their classrooms were less likely to have negative emotions.
Parents in the study were asked to share their experiences of using toys.
Forty-one percent of mothers who used toys reported using them before the exam.
Parents who reported using the toys before the examination were also more likely than parents who didn’t use the toy to report being sad or upset.