Some babies show a preference for a specific toy or blanket as early as four months old and many children sleep with a treasured item well into middle school. "Lovies" or “transitional items” provide comfort to the child. Studies have proven that when a child carries his lovie during stressful times such as during a doctor's visit, it helps them stay calm. The relief is measurable in their blood pressure readings.
Why Babies Attach to an Item
It used to be thought that when babies got attached to their blankets or stuffed animal it signified a lack of bond with their mother. According to sciencedaily.com it also used to be thought that, “these attachment toys or transitional objects were comfort items that provided a sense of security for infants raised in households where they slept separately from the mother.” But we now know this is not true. Children believe these items carry something special that cannot be copied. Even in a study where children were offered the exact duplicate item, they preferred the original. A replacement just won't do. Scientists call this the item’s “essence.” This attachment doesn't end with children, we carry emotional ties to personal items long to adulthood.
Would you be sad if you lost, let's say, your wedding ring? Even if you replaced it with one exactly like it, the original ring held some sort of sentimental value. That's what we call it as adults. When speaking of Items treasured, we say they “hold sentimental value.” I am reminded of the classic scene of Butch's watch he kept "Bedside table. On the kangaroo" in the movie, Pulp Fiction. He returns to his apartment under dangerous circumstances to retrieve the watch, shouting, "Of all the things she could forget, she forgets my father's watch!"
Let Them Love Their Lovies
Studies also show that girls openly hold on to their security items longer than boys do. However, both genders can still name the item in middle school. The stigma makes the love of their lovie somehow a mark of weakness, and this stigma affects boys more than girls. Don't shame a child for their lovie. You can transition it to be a "sometimes thing" instead of an "all the time thing," but if you resist it, the fear of losing it will make them persist. It's a genuine fear. Relax, you still have a few things of sentimental value, I'm sure. Allow your child the same privilege .
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of three. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WriterBonnie for more great info on Raising Kids.