My friend gave me a Silkie Ribbon Comfort Blankie before my son was born and it has become his most favorite possession. We call it Lovey or Ya Ya and on occasion, it has been known to bring him more comfort than his dad or I.
This 12â€³ x 12â€³ plush blanket is very well-loved and never left his crib (except to be washed) until my son turned one. Since then, it has since made a trip around the world, (twice) has been sucked on, dropped on the floor, dragged through our house, family’s houses, friendâ€™s houses, preschool, countless cars, airports, hotel rooms, wiped up snot, tears and vomit; and while completely disgusting, my son’s precious Lovey has brought some much needed security right at the moment he needs it most.
We own three back-ups, just in case and are careful about switching them out with one another because apparently children have a very keen sense of smell and can spot an impostor a mile away. It’s safe to say all four of my son’s loveies are equally loved.
I donâ€™t remember ever having a security blanket or toy that I was particularly attached to growing up and had never even heard of such a thing until I met my nieceâ€™s (multiple) Duckies. Talk about disgusting and well-loved, these poor ducks get their stuffing picked right out of them. Whatever works, right?
About 60 percent of toddlers are devoted to comfort objects, according to child-development experts. And since blankets and stuffed animals can help children soothe themselves in stressful moments, lots of parents can’t imagine life without them either.
Most intense attachments happen by a child’s first birthday. “Having a familiar object with them helps kids this age feel comforted and secure,” says Mary Ann LoFrumento, M.D., author of Understanding Your Toddler.
This feeling of safety is important because toddlers have a hard time with transitions, such as heading to daycare or even going to bed. “The lovely becomes an extra resource to help your child deal with everyday events that are frustrating or upsetting”, explains Maria Kalpidou, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Assumption College. It’s especially important when moms aren’t around to hold and console toddlers. Instead, they use a comfort object to soothe themselves.
Your toddler’s attachment to a comfort object will likely continue for a couple of years. Experts say by age 4, your child will begin to regulate his own emotions and won’t need to rely on a lovey for comfort, but in the meantime, enjoy this milestone for what it is: a small, adorable step in your child’s road to independence.
Our son spent the night at my sister’s house this weekend so my husband and I could enjoy some quality time together and the very first item on my “Don’t Forget To Pack” list was my son’s lovely, as it always is. It’s the one item that never leaves our sight. Everything else can be replaced but my son’s soft blue and brown blankie with tags all around it must always be at the top of our list wherever we go.
Does your child have a favorite item that they cling to when the going gets tough? What are the â€œrulesâ€ for it in your home and when (if ever) did the attachment end?
Photo credit: K. Sawyer Photography