Is it OK if my child is attached to a blanket or other objects?

A child clutching a blanket is a familiar sight. Between the ages of six and nine months, many young children become attached to a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal. The attachment may last until the child is five or older. This is a natural part of development, although not all children pick out a special object, and some choose several soft items to hold on to. A child with a strong attachment may wake up clutching his blanket and hold it as his parents pick him up. He may put the blanket against his face and carry it around with him as he gets older.

To a young child, a blanket or other soft object is a source of comfort. As he moves away from infancy and his close union with his mother, he nurtures and cares for his special object, receiving warmth and comfort in return. He may use his blanket most often during times of transition throughout the day—when he goes to sleep, wakes up, feels tired or hurt, goes for a car trip, visits the doctor, or goes to day care—and during major changes in his life or routine. Such changes can include the birth of a sibling, the beginning of day care or nursery school, or a parent’s absence. Children who are left to cry themselves to sleep or whose dependency needs are not consistently met may become particularly dependent on an object for comfort.

The child’s attachment to his special object may go through different stages. At times he’ll have an intense need for his blanket and will let his parents know that he wants it, even if he can’t yet tell them in words. At other times, during calm periods and as he gets older, he may have less need for the special object.

One child had a strong attachment to a stuffed animal she’d been given when she was a few months old and took the toy everywhere. When she turned four, her attachment began to lessen. First she threw the animal out of her bed, although she quickly retrieved it. Then she began moving it, night by night, into less favorable positions on the bed. Eventually she simply put it away on a shelf.

If your child is attached to a special object, you may find it hard to trust that he’ll ever give it up. You may wonder if you should remove it or wean him away from it, but such actions are unnecessary. As time goes on, his desire for the object will diminish and he’ll give it up on his own. However, you may not see this happen until he’s five, since many four – and five-year-olds keep their objects with them at night as a source of comfort. Interestingly, when parents recognize how strong and long-lasting their child’s attachment is, they sometimes begin to feel protective of the object themselves.

Picture Credit : Google