Kids

What You Need to Know About Your Child’s Security Blanket

Security blankets come in all shapes and sizes. My sons came in the form of a stuffed puppy.

When my son turned one, we wrapped a stuffed German Shepherd as a gift from our dog, Logan. Yes, it sounds a little silly, but JD loves our dog and he quickly became obsessed with the miniature version of Logan. When JD started talking more, he affectionately started calling the stuffed dog, “Puppy.” Creative, I know.

Puppy has become a member of the family. If we go out, Puppy has to come with us. Puppy has his own plate at the dinner table. When JD goes to Sunday school, Puppy tags right along and has his own seat regardless of how many children are in the class. When it’s time to go to bed, JD snuggles on Puppy as he falls asleep. Needless to say, Puppy is well-loved. πŸ˜‰

Now, I think this goes without saying, but I am certainly not an expert in this. If you have concerns, it’s always wise to talk with your pediatrician. But, these are some things that we have learned along the way!


Why do children attach to toys or blankets?

When a child starts emotionally transitioning from dependence to independence, they often latch onto an object to make them feel secure β€” hence the term “transitional object”. These transitional objects are tactile reminders of their room, their home, and, most importantly, their parents! Because of this, these objects can help comfort a child through the separation anxiety and emotions they are experiencing. 


Is the attachment healthy?

Transitional objects are completely healthy and normal. In fact, they are even encouraged. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, transitional objects can be extremely beneficial when incorporated into your child’s bedtime routine.


Some tips on transitional objects

1. Find a safe toy

When we got Puppy, we didn’t realize the attachment that was about to ensue. While this stuffed animal is filled with cotton, what we didn’t think about at the time was the plastic nose on the end of his snout. If you can help steer your child towards a particular toy, help choose one that is completely safe for them to snuggle, cuddle, and chew. πŸ™‚

2. Set limits

While Puppy is well-traveled, we certainly set some limits and boundaries. When we go to a restaurant or a store, we make sure that JD leaves Puppy in the car β€” and sometimes we just tell him that we are going to let Puppy stay at home.

We’ve set these boundaries from the beginning and JD has always been very agreeable. It helps him understand that he doesn’t always need Puppy to feel secure.

3. Purchase a backup

We learned this one the hard way. After several months of kissing (read: chewing) on Puppy’s nose, we decided to get a new one because the nose was about to fall off. When we got to the store, they had discontinued this particular stuffed animal. Any parent of a child with a beloved toy knows the panic that ensued.

Thankfully (and surprisingly), JD handled the transition very well and loved the new version of Puppy like he was the first, but that isn’t always the case. If you can get a backup of your child’s chosen lovey, get one! If anything, it will let you wash one while still allowing your child to snuggle with the other.

4. Don’t worry

There is a popular myth that a child with an attachment to an object is insecure and weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve even heard it said that a child’s attachment to a “lovey” or transitional object is a sign of a strong relationship between a child and his parents and shows that his needs are consistently being met.

So, don’t worry about your child’s need for a transitional object. If you try to get rid of it before they are ready, it can do more harm than good. They’ll gradually outgrow the need as they find other ways to cope with their anxieties and emotions.


Does your child have a security blanket or transitional object? Let me know in the comments below!


Jennifer Driskell

Jennifer Driskell

Hi there! I'm Jennifer, a lifestyle blogger and working mom. I help other moms find value, joy, and beauty in the middle of the everyday routines. I'd love to connect β€” you can find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram!

28 comments

  1. Having a backup is a must. So thankful we were warned about that or we would have been in big trouble.

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    1. Yes, Tamara! I’m so glad our son took to the new version of Puppy β€” we could have been in big trouble, too!

      Reply
  2. I actually still have my security blanket! I don’t use it, but I do have it tucked away in a vacuum sealed bag! Actually neither of my kids have one!

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  3. Growing up I never had any lovey I was attached to, but kids nowadays seem to do this a lot. But true finding balance is the most important thing.

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  4. My son had his special "blue blue banket" that yes, is a blue blanket πŸ˜‰ we’re very cautious with it though as my Nana crocheted it before she passed.

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    1. Yes, Christine! Some items just can’t be replaced β€”Β how special that he has that!

      Reply
  5. That’s a lovely post and quite interesting and informative. I was not aware about this transitional phase and importance of security blanket, that you have mentioned, my son is 20 months old and still not have any particular favorites. Will try to introduce a toy because I want him to have a buddy.

    Reply
  6. This is really great information and great tips – especially having a back up. My son has a few different bears that he rotates interest in but sleeps with the same polka dot blanket every night. When he went to preschool, I went to buy him a second polka dot blanket for naptime and couldn’t find one! I ended up buying an identical USED blanket for $30. It was outrageous but oh-so-necessary.

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    1. Oh, the things we do for our kids β€” and for our sanity as moms! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading, Allison!

      Reply
  7. These are all really great points. I like what you said about still setting some boundaries – which helps him know that he doesn’t always need his lovey.

    We try to do this, too – especially when we go out – to leave those things in the car. For us, it has mainly been in effort to not loose them though!

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    1. There are definitely multiple benefits to leaving the lovey in the car! Thanks for sharing, Mary Leigh!

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  8. You make some really good points! My daughter doesn’t have a specific object, but sometimes she will really want to take a toy or two with us somewhere. So I generally let her take it in the car, but it has to stay there while we eat or play somewhere so she doesn’t lose it.

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    1. Exactly, Brittany! Between messy/sticky hands and forgetfulness, we leave Puppy in the car so he stays safe and sound. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  9. Thank you for this post! My son is still too young for a security blanket, but I’ve wondered what toy he’ll develop a special attachment to and how to handle it. Your advice will be very helpful when the time comes.

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  10. This is very well said. This is such an important piece to their development (for some!) Thank you for educating us!

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  11. I hate that they will stop depending on me and shift to something else, I just love the attention that my son is giving me. Anyway, I think I will give him something that he can grow with, maybe a blanket. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I know, Linda. It’s so tough to see my son need me less, but so wonderful to see him growing and developing just as he should! Definitely bittersweet! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. We tried to find the right lovey for my daughter when she was having trouble with a bedtime routine, but none seemed to stick! She now has a few that she enjoys carrying around with her. A backup is definitely a must!

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  13. Oh my goodness, YES to the backup. We buy two of the same special lovie when we put the nursery together and we swap them out every couple of months so they’re equally worn. It’s a true lifesaver to have the backup and usually the lost one turns back up in a day or two!

    Reply
  14. My child has his stuffed bear that he loves so much. It’s nice to read that it is healthy for him to be so attached to his little bear. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

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