Are you beginning to see your little toddler turn back to pick up a favorite blanket or stuffed animal? Do you put your little one to bed lately only to have her whimper and whine, panic and point to a security blanket until it’s in her grasp and tucked under her chin? If, as a new parent, you are beginning to worry about your baby becoming attached to an inanimate object and see him carrying a blanket into his teens, don’t. It’s completely okay.
Experts tell us to stop worrying about it – there may be some function to that raggedy, torn little blanket or animal. It doesn’t mean that our child has endured emotional stress or poor parental attachment. Rather, studies show that children with a security blanket or animal are more self-confident, become more independent, and are more affectionate later in life. The same researchers find that 75% of children between the ages of 18 months and 2-5 years of age have used a “transitional object” or animal.
The security blanket or animal being carried around has also been shown as a way for a child to gain control over his/her environment, or to develop a need for privacy and individuality. So as we watch our baby wander through the home dragging a dilapidated doll, realize that you did not do something wrong. Rather, you are allowing your child to become her own person, growing in self-confidence and individualism. They will find their own time to let it go. The only thing we should worry about is making sure they let go long enough to throw it in the wash machine.
Pediatric Medical Center
The Informed Parent