Q&A: How are transitional objects important for babies?
Exactly what is the importance of a lovey? I'm not sure how I feel about my child getting attached to security blankets or stuffed animals, although I see lots of other babies his age with them at daycare.
A lovey (or security blanket or toy) is an object that provides some sense of security or comfort to a child. According to Dr. Richard Passman of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, up to 60 percent of children in the US have some sort of security blanket during childhood. Through his research on the effects of security blankets on child development, he has found no negative or lasting effects—but he has found many positive ones.
Sometimes called a “transitional object,” a lovey can help ease children into new situations and provide a feeling of familiarity and comfort. This can happen quite organically when a child shows an affinity to a particular object, or it may happen as a result of a mother or father encouraging the attachment.
Some daycare centers may discourage security blankets because of hygiene or other reasons—some say children become very territorial of special blankets or toys, which leads to social problems. Talk to your providers about their reasons. If your child is used to carrying his lovey with him everywhere, you may encounter stress when weaning him off it completely. Consider encouraging him to use it at naptime only while at daycare and bedtime only while at home. Although, for some parents it may be the only way to coax a stubborn toddler out the door!
As always, when it comes to making decisions about what may be best for your child, use your judgment and follow your instincts.