Attachment to certain things is a normal part of any child’s development. They are typically drawn to a comfort object that many child psychologists refer to as a “transitional object“.
Most children become emotionally attached to certain cuddly toys, blankets, and even worn old scraps of material because they naturally believe they possess a unique essence or some life force. These toys or objects might become very special to your child.
Studies have found that children preferred their ‘special’ cherished comfort blankets or favorite raggedy bear over newer duplicates identical in almost every way. This particular toy or object might also represent the mother or a missing parent when they are not around.
Understanding Your Child’s Emotional Connections
Building attachments to toys or objects stands as an emotional connection for your child. This phase shows the transition towards their independence.
Having a stuffed animal around always isn’t something to laugh at; it’s just a part of growing up and learning how to develop.
The list below is a guideline for understanding your child’s attachment.
- Toys or objects are familiar
- They associate the toy with a feeling of security
- Often used in strange surroundings to the child
- Called a comfort object as it makes them comfortable in situations of uncertainty
- Offers reassurance when away from their close ones
- A dummy or soother is very common in young children
70% of young children, as per research, develop a strong attachment to different objects, be it their toys or blankets. It is a familiar remark at places where the children sleep separated from their parents from the early years.
Keeping Your Child’s Special Attachment Toy In Good Order
There’s a wonderfully charming story of Ellie, the elephant. Ellie was Sia’s favorite toy and was with her day and night. Ellie’s coat often became worn out, making him appear very dirty. However, on every occasion, Sia’s mother would make a bright new coat for Ellie, and then Ellie would be given a special treat like an outing to the park to show off his new jacket to other children.
Wondering what happened next? Sia is now 35 years old – and Ellie still lives in Sia’s cupboard!
Reducing A Child’s Anxiety With Toys
The behavior of having an attachment object is healthy, and most child psychologists advise against taking these objects away from young children. For many children, the emotional tie they develop to their “blankies” or snugly soft toys reduces anxiety around separation experiences from their caregivers.
Besides, by 5 years of age, most kids will no longer need a comfort object everywhere they go. Though they may still sleep with that object for much longer.
Many children completely stop sleeping with their favorite attachment object by the time they’re ten years old. So, you don’t have to worry much about that!
Never Panic Over Your Child’s Attachment To A Comfort Object
Many parents will be concerned if their five-year-old can’t sleep without his dummy or their teenager refuses to throw out the tattered old blanket she’s had since she was a baby. So, whether babies need comfort objects and such attachment is healthy or harmful is a highly debated topic as some feel it’s unnecessary.
You may insist your child to let go of his comfort object, but time will take its course, and there’s no set time. Let’s admit it as adults, even we do at times have attachment objects. Therefore, don’t panic over your child doing the same!
Why Do Children Play With Random Objects?
How often have you seen a child holding a strange item that’s not necessarily a cuddly toy? Your child may favor other unique objects besides a cuddly teddy or stuffed animal.
If they’ve formed an attachment and want to bring it along, don’t restrict them. It may sound weird having to take your toothbrush to bed along with other stuffed toys. You must understand your child’s attachment to certain things.
After all, it’s always amusing to see children with old scruffy blankets or a very worn-looking cuddly bear or toy. Since that particular object is vital to the child, you shall never lose it!
Also read: How To Teach Toddlers About Emotions?