Does your toddler have a favorite "blankie" or teddy bear, or some other comfort object that must go with him everywhere? And do you ever wonder if this is normal?
As your toddler grows, it may seem incongruous for him to be walking around with a lovey that might seem more appropriate for a baby. But your little one is determined to take this object wherever he goes — in the car, to bed, to preschool, and even to the bathtub.
Some Circle of Moms members wonder if this is normal behavior, or if they should intervene. Megan R. has decided to get rid of her daughter's comfort objects if she doesn't wean herself of them soon. The 17-month-old has not one or two, but three: a bottle, a blanket, and a stuffed lamb, and if she doesn't have all three, she's miserable, reports this frustrated mom. Leigh C., on the other hand, thinks her 16-month-old's attachment to "Bunny Van Gogh," a stuffed rabbit, is perfect normal. She has no plans to try to remove a comfort object that helps her son feel more secure and to fall asleep.
The good news is that quite apart from your own feelings about your child's attachments to objects, a strong affection for a lovey or other transition object is perfectly normal. The American Board of Pediatrics states on the website of CHADIS, its Child Health and Development Interactive System, that the chief role of transitional objects is to comfort the child when the parent cannot, because she isn't around or because her attention is elsewhere. They argue that comfort objects can help toddlers through the challenging task of becoming independent — and that children who have comfort objects are actually more independent than those who don't!
Many parents think these objects of affection are fine but want to limit where their kids can take them. Aisley P. loves that her 21-month-old has a favorite blanket, but limits its use to bedtime. Amanda P., too, confines her son's blankie, now tattered and worn, to the house, mostly because she believes that at age four, he's too old to be going out with it in public.
Child psychology expert and author Penelope Leach says there's no cause for concern. Transitional comfort objects, she says, are chosen by your child at six to nine months because they "spell safety and security," and that the object acts as a surrogate when you're not there. Sometimes the object even smells like you! She argues that instead of taking a comfort object away from your toddler, you should try to preserve it or even find a duplicate, as it is an important part of your little one's inner life and his psychological well being.
So, moms, rest easy on this one — no need for action! Your baby's attachment to her blankie, doll, bear, or other object of affection is not only normal, it's healthy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.