Child Psychology: Understanding ‘Loveys’
It is common for toddlers and young kids to develop a strong attachment to a “lovey” or a “security blanket“. You might notice him carrying his favorite stuffed animal, pillow, or blanket wherever he goes. This behavior has been seen in kids for centuries and is deemed normal in most circumstances. But what exactly does this imply in terms of child psychology?
Importance of Comfort Objects in Child Psychology
Whatever form the lovey of your child might take, they possess importance for your child and his behavioral development. Experts in child psychology call them “transitional objects” and say that they are not just important in soothing distressed children, but they are also an integral part of child development.
Kids and toddlers form an attachment with their chosen object in order to achieve and maintain a sense of security and comfort, especially if their parents are away. These transitional objects are effective in letting the child soothe himself whenever he feels anxious, frustrated, or even if he is just sleepy.
Can Loveys Become a Problem?
While transitional objects are necessary for a child’s sense of comfort and security, there are cases when they can be a cause for concern. For instance, if you notice your child forming an extremely strong attachment to a lovey when he is already a few years into elementary school, or if his bond with a comfort object came suddenly and presents as unusually intense, then you need to assess the situation a bit more.
The first thing that parents can do is to talk with the child and ask if everything is alright. Try to learn more about how he perceives his lovey and ask if there are any problems he is encountering at school or with his friends.
If your child declines to share more information with you, don’t lose all hope. You can seek the help of child psychology professionals to properly evaluate and diagnose the situation. Our licensed therapists and clinicians are more than capable to help you and your child deal with any problems that are affecting his behavior and sense of security.
Setting Lovey Limitations
In case an issue is present, should parents set boundaries? The answer is yes. However, do not abruptly take away your child’s comfort object, as this might lead to further anxiety, frustration, and even aggression. Instead, establish limitations that are appropriate for his age. For instance, you can allow your child to take his teddy bear with him on trips, but he must leave him in the car once you get to the destination.
For instance, you can allow your child to take his teddy bear with him on trips, but he must leave him in the car once you get to the destination. If he is on a playdate, he may bring it with him, but it should stay in the car or in mom or dad’s bag. Then, you can eventually proceed to leave the lovey at home, but always give the child the power of deciding where he’ll keep it while he is out of the house. This permits him to maintain his sense of control even in an unwanted situation.
Additional Resource on Child Psychology and Comfort Objects
Judy Koutsky talks more of this in her article, Kids and Loveys: Why Some Children Need a Comfort Object.