Transitional Toys or Objects in your Child’s Life
Infants and toddlers often have a comfort toy or blanket, which becomes a part of their body. It goes where they go, sleeps with them and the child may actually go through separation anxiety when the comfort object is taken away from them. What can be more frustrating to parents is that the toddler may be so possessive of the object that he/she may not allow them to wash them.
Why The Transitional Objects?
A crying baby may get pacified with the comfort object, they may eventually sleep with it even when they are cranky or play alone with their lovey (the most common name) without bothering their mother for quite some time. What gives the lifeless blanket, stuffed toy or some other object such super power over the infants who almost seem invincible in their tantrums?
Babies become mobile and start exploring the world around them at the age of 6-8 months. Though they love the freedom of exploring, they are shocked to realize that they are separate individuals from their caretaker. This sets in separation anxiety which makes them crave for comfort and security.
To ease the anxiety, infants usually seek the comfort of a familiar stuffed toy or blanket which are also known as transitional objects. These comfort object ease the pangs of separation and fear by providing familiarity and security to the baby. The attachment often lasts throughout the toddlerhood of your child.
Is your child insecure?
Don’t push yourself through the guilt of making your child hold on to the transitional object because your love is not enough. Having a comfort toy is not a sign of unhealthy insecurity in your child, but actually shows that you have established a strong bond with your baby. Children whose need for security and comfort is not met by their parents very rarely hold on to comfort toys.
If your toddler is carrying his companion stuffed toy while he is sleeping over at his friend’s place, know that he is just carrying that piece of his own home and parents with him to feel their love and security.
How can they help you
The comfort toys can be a great help to parents who learn to use them in day to day activities for their benefits without being manipulative. For example a child who is afraid to get a shot can be pacified when their toy is first given the shot. That makes everything look so familiar.
For those fussy eaters, feeding lovey can be very helpful.
If your child is afraid of a particular person, tell her that dolly is afraid of that person as well and ask why. Though the child may not be able to tell why she is afraid of a particular person, she may open up very easily to let the caretaker know why dolly is afraid of the person.
You can role play various scenarios with the comfort toy to teach various life-skills to your toddler.
Though initially it may seem like your baby is going to carry the toy in his bag even to high-school or college thereafter, stop worrying. With new found friends and activities, children usually separate from their lovey’s or dolly’s by the age of 4-5 or a little later. Until then, make peace with the object with superpower who is a companion for your toddler during the transition period of his/her life.