How to get your child to ditch the blankie
Do you know how to get rid of your child’s blanket? Read this article to learn the techniques.
Most children have a security object – a pacifier, stuffed toy or a blanket like Linus from The Peanuts comic strip. Boy, did that blankie stay with him for the longest time…
While clutching a blanket may seem like a harmless habit and an easy way to let your kid comfort himself, it gets a little awkward when Junior insists on not leaving the home without it – even when he starts going to school. So how can you really get him to let it go for good, amidst a barrage of tears and screams?
Take it slow
Start with telling your child that the blankie needs to stay at home or in the bedroom whenever he goes outside the house. If this suggestion is met with resistance, set up a bargain. Suggest taking the blanket but it would not leave the car. If lounging around the house, take the opportunity to wash the blanket (in a leisurely manner). A few blanket-less hours per day could help your child become less reliant on its presence, slowly but surely.
Offer an alternative
If your child is already going to school, make it an opportunity to get rid of the blanket by offering an alternative. Instead of taking the blanket with him at school, let your child bring a small photo of the blanket instead. Seeing the blanket, even in a photo, reduces the separation anxiety. For girls, a charm bracelet, small stuffed animal keychain or handkerchief make for good replacements. For boys, a face towel, bead bracelet or fun printed socks are appropriate alternatives. When your child comes home, reassure him that the blanket is safe and will always be safe even if left inside a closet.
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Give time to “break up”
Do not pressure your child to give up his blanket immediately, even though it may seem easier to go cold turkey. Allow your child to properly “break up” with the blanket. Perform rituals with your child to soften the blow. This may be taking a few minutes every day to ceremoniously tuck the blanket in the closet or hugging it before leaving home.
He may resist but if ever the time comes that you really need to take your child’s blanket away, you must offer him a reasonable explanation as to why you are doing it. For instance use yourself and other members of the family as examples of people your child knows and loves, who do not clutch blankets all the time because there are plenty of other fun things to be done! Also remind him that most of the time it’s easier to have two free hands to play, eat and do all the things that he likes to do. Your child may still negotiate on this point and ask questions - don’t lose patience if he asks if his blankie will be safe in the closet. The assurance will do him good.
Offer encouragement, not punishment
The worst thing that you can do when you want to get rid of your child’s blanket is to punish or embarrass him. Understand the situation and offer ways to celebrate good behavior instead. The first time your child allows to be separated from the blankie (even for just a few hours), celebrate the small success by doing something new and fun, like baking cookies together or getting messy with some paints! Be creative with your incentives to ensure that your child enjoys it, but stay away from rewards that break other rules that you would normally have in place (e.g. bribing him with ice-cream or too much TV).
How did you get rid of your child’s blanket? Share your tips to us. Watch this video to see how a child’s security blanket can be transformed: