Does your toddler throw a fit when he can’t find his favourite plushie before going to bed? Read about blanket attachment syndrome and how to help your child overcome it here.
What can you read in this article?
- What are transitional objects?
- Are transitional objects beneficial to your child?
- How to make a security blanket
- What to do if your child lost his security blanket
- Tips for weaning your child from his or her comfort object
We all know Linus from the Peanuts – he was self-assured, kind, and smart, and he always carried a blanket with him. While Linus is cute, we often worry if allowing toddlers to carry blankies, also known as security blankets or loveys, eternally may hinder their development.
Whether it’s a ragged blankie or a dog-eared poodle, this item appears to be glued to your child’s body, as he fights all attempts to leave his transitional object (aka his lovey) at home — or even wash it.
Image from Freepik
Blanket attachment syndrome
According to research, up to 70% of young children develop strong attachments to objects such as toys or blankets. This can be referred to as blanket attachment syndrome.
Most children get attached to a specific object before their first birthday. Most typically a blanket, stuffed animal, or thumb, but this habit usually peaks in the second year.
According to research, a child’s attachment to certain blankets or toys may be driven by the assumption that certain objects have unseen features or possess some essence of their original owner.
These special comforts are referred to as transitional objects. They aid in the emotional transition of youngsters from dependence to independence.
Blankets and loveys provide youngsters with a sense of security – a method to help them leave their parent or caregiver for the day, work through the tears of an emotional moment, and endure those difficult transitions that require extra support.
They are less shy and more concentrated than children who do not use these things when they have that blanket or lovey with them.
Are transitional objects beneficial to your child?
Image from Pexels
According to research, a child’s security blanket or favourite teddy is beneficial. Blankets and loveys are tools for increasing a child’s confidence, self-esteem, and even empowerment.
Their lovey goods are effectively the earliest training wheels for persuading themselves “you’re fine,” according to study. Children feel safe enough to take small risks, explore, and grow when they have a built-in sense of security.
These “training wheels” give a safety net that boosts confidence and are then removed when no longer required. Children will feel free and unafraid to take larger risks as they grow and change if they take little risks now.
However, research has found that removing or denying access to the transitional object can increase anxiety and trauma. It is preferable to support the youngster by utilising a security blanket or lovey at critical periods.
Contrary to popular belief, transitional objects are not a sign of weakness or insecurity, and there is no need to prevent your child from using one. In fact, a transitional object might be so beneficial that you may want to assist them in selecting one and incorporating it into their bedtime ritual.
How to make a baby security blanket
Image from Freepik
You’ll need two fabric squares. Sewing two fabrics together will make it thick enough to be used as a blanket. You’d be giving the infant a rag if you didn’t. The squares should be at least half a yard (or 18 inches) in size. Even if you intend to make something smaller, it’s best to chop off excess than struggle with a blanket that ends up being too small.
Choose fabrics with a variety of textures. When the infant becomes acclimated to a handcrafted lovey blanket, he or she will have a fun tactile experience. In addition, developing a child’s sense of touch is an important experience for their development.
You’ll need about 32 four-inch fabric ribbons to make a tag blanket. Alternatively, you may use any extra fabric that you might end up cutting out. Putting a “head” on the blanket might help make any extra fabric useful. If you want to insert a “head,” look for some fiberfill to stuff it with.
Don’t forget to bring your sewing supplies. You should use a sewing machine if possible. If you don’t have one, though, remember to be patient when sewing by hand. Finally, you’ll require a ruler, a fabric pen, pins, and scissors.
Procedure #1 Doing measurements
Step 1: You want it to be tiny enough for the baby to carry. A 17-inch square is an appropriate size. However, you can still choose a size that is appropriate for the little child.
Step 2: If you want to add ribbon tags or ahead, measure the centre of one side of the cloth with the ruler and the fabric pen. Tag blanket ribbons must be about 4 inches long.
Step 3: 4 inches is an excellent size for a headpiece, whether you create it yourself or stay with a simple design. Allow a half-inch margin when stuffing with fiberfill.
Procedure #2 Sewing the fabric together
At this point, you must sew the two materials together. If you want to add ribbons, ahead, or both, you must sew these on first.
Step 1: Fold the first ribbon in half and pin it to the designated place with a pin. Check that the ribbon’s edge is aligned with the cloth.
Also, turn the folded part of the blanket so that it faces the centre of the blanket. Pin the remaining ribbons on and equally space them out. Repeat with the remaining sides.
From here, stitch the ribbons to the fabric one-fourth inch in from the edge, removing the pins as you go.
Step 2: The same is true for the head. Place the head on the center spot and secure it with a pin. Check that the edges of the head and the fabrics are aligned once more. Sew the head on the fabric about a half inch from the edge.
Step 3: Even if you only want a simple baby blanket, you’ll need pins. Place the two fabrics together and check that they are aligned.
Pin them together so they’re ready for stitching. If you’re using ribbons or ahead, make sure they’re sandwiched between the layers because you’ll be turning the sewn fabrics inside out.
Step 4: Sew three sides together with a half-inch seam allowance. Leave a three-inch gap on the fourth side. When you’ve finished sewing both the sides, insert your hand through the gap and pull the blanket inside out. Sew the blanket all around again. Use a one-fourth-inch allowance this time. This will seal the gap and fasten any ribbons you’ve tied to the blanket.
So there you have it. You now have a baby security blanket that would delight your kid.
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What to do if your child lost his security blanket?
You can, for example, make empathic statements about how difficult it is to lose a lovey. Assist her in honouring the loss of her lovey by painting drawings of the lovey or framing a photo of her holding the lovey. Offer to buy her something unusual or new, however, some youngsters may struggle to develop a new attachment.
Likewise, avoid things like pretending it didn’t happen or downplaying the loss of the lovey by telling her she’s too old for the lovey anyhow or that it’s not such a big deal.
If your child has a different lovey, or if she clings to a different toy or blanket, try to acquire two identical versions of the item in case one needs to be washed or lost in the future!
Tips for weaning your child from his or her comfort object
Preschool or kindergarten is frequently the age at which a youngster understands she must brave the world without a lovey. This weaning strategy is recommended by specialists to assist your youngster separate with as few tears as possible.
- It’s all about timing. Do not attempt to remove the blanket or toy too quickly. Your child’s separation anxiety will only grow as a result of the loss.
- Provide reasons for the “breakup.” When you recommend saying goodbye to a favourite bunny, give your youngster a reason.
- Begin with small steps. Tell your child that he can have his lovey at home and in the car, but not at the supermarket or the park. If your youngster insists on bringing his blanket to school, offer a compromise.
- Provide a suitable alternative. Some children are pleased with a substitute for their lovey, such as a message, a family portrait, a locket, or a watch.
These may not be as cuddly or have the same comforting smell as a stuffed animal, but they can still help your child feel connected to home when she is suffering from separation anxiety, according to Anita Britt, PhD, assistant professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
If your child clings to anything, such as a blanket, ask her if you may cut it into progressively smaller pieces. For some children, simply holding a square of her favorite cloth can be enough.
- Treat the situation lightly. Dr Britt advises parents not to scold or humiliate their children for clinging to a lovey. He may get even more committed to it, and you may find yourself in a power battle.
- Expect regression. When a stressful event occurs, such as the death of a grandparent, the arrival of a new sibling, or a move, don’t be surprised or disappointed if your child seeks consolation from a treasured toy, says Hugh Bases, MD, developmental-behavioural paediatrician at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. When the crisis is over, she’ll be more willing to let go, and you can resume the weaning process.
Comfort objects are normal and a terrific way for tiny children (and sometimes adults) to calm and soothe themselves, and they should not be removed too soon.