Did You Know? About 60% of toddlers use comfort or security objects – most choose an item with silky and nubby textures to provide sensory satisfaction. Child development experts agree that a comfort object is a great asset for children and parents. Attachment to a “lovie”, usually beginning around 8-12 months, represents a big leap in intellectual and emotional development for a child - they are learning to understand symbols and to "invent" something of their own – the lovie becomes a symbol of love and comfort that is tangible. Children who have learned to use lovies can find comfort anywhere and can take control of their own comfort."A lovie has real emotional importance to a child. Like a true friend, a lovie is familiar, accepting, and faithful. It is the guarantee of safety and security; it promises a parent’s return.”
As mentioned above, toddlers enjoy the tactile stimulation of a soft, fuzzy, or nubby items like stuffed animals, blankets, or even our toddler pillows, while other toddlers may choose something like a pacifier. Whatever the choice, it is not uncommon for toddlers to give their comfort objects names and talk to them, carry them around everywhere - much like a true friend. It can help them work through problems or challenges in their everyday life and have unconditional acceptance. And as any parent with a child attached to a lovie will understand, when that lovie is lost, put in the wash, or left behind, it's like losing one's true friend and cannot be replaced.
As parents, one challenge is attempting to anticipate which animal, blanket or other object will be "the one" and we all rush out to buy duplicates just in case it is every left behind or lost. At one point, my youngest son was starting to develop an attachment to a particular green stuffed animal so I ran out and bought a handful (as well as a few in different colors - thank goodness they were inexpensive). But that phase didn't last long, and both of my boys eventually settled on blankets as lovies (which is great considering my business!). So I created the Bips - a smaller version of a favorite blanket that is easier to pack, carry, wash, etc. Plus that single satin corner to make the blanket feel special and provide that spot of interest to touch and rub. I've heard from many parents with children that are attached to our blankets, bips, or toddler pillows. I've also heard stories about special lovies getting damaged, lost, or just plain worn out. In the best cases, we still have fabric available (or can find it somewhere else) and can try to replace that item. In other cases, we have successfully helped parents replace the item with a similar theme or color fabric - yes, sometimes it does work!
Once toddlers are growing up into preschoolers and school aged children, the question becomes what level of attachment is appropriate and how do you handle it? If you have any fun stories to share about your toddler and lovies, post them here. I'm curious to hear what objects, what age, and if your child is older now, when/how did they give them up?