DIARY OF AN INVENTOR: Jodie Anderson and The Calming Bears

When university graduate and young designer Jodie Anderson noticed a lack of toys on the market to help kids with anxiety, she took it upon herself to create the 'ideal product.'
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Having experienced anxiety myself as a child, I believe I am more sensitive and aware of the needs that young children experiencing anxiety have.

I also discovered that there is a lack of products on the market that children can take with them at all times to help them relax when feeling anxious.

Anxiety among children is becoming an increasingly common problem, there is a need for better treatment and more effective product to help treat this issue. This is where my concept of the Calming Bear came from.

The Calming Bear is an interactive object designed to assist children with deep and controlled breathing techniques to reduce anxiety. With the Calming Bear, the child simply presses the bear’s nose when feeling anxious, and it pulses every four seconds, encouraging the child to slowly inhale on one pulse, and then exhale on the next.

The Calming Bear act as a physical support to guide the child through the breathing exercise, providing comfort to the child.

I would now love to see The Calming Bear take off in the toy space.

From carrying out research alongside psychologists, and from reflecting on my past experience, I was able to develop the Calming Bear into the product it is now. I practiced some in-depth research into different breathing patterns, as well as looking at transitional objects such as comfort blankets that children develop emotional attachments to.

Through prototyping different design concepts and testing them out with a group of young children in a local primary school, I was able to develop The Calming Bear.

So far, I have been overwhelmed with the feedback I have had from various people, some asking if they can purchase one or two of my bears.

I have recently graduated from the University of Dundee where I studied product design, and I am now furthering my studies at the University of Edinburgh but I would love to take the Calming Bear project further and bring the bears to market. 

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