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Transitional Objects

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Transitional Objects

By Jill Campbell, PsyD, Parent & Me Curriculum Director

Infants and toddlers use transitional objects to help them self-soothe. Holding a lovie (a small blanket approximately 12” by 12” and made of breathable fabric), helps your baby to become more independent and self-sufficient. A transitional (security) object helps baby learn how to comfort himself. This is because the transitional object takes on some of the warm, comforting qualities of mom or dad. The baby or toddler sees the object as not part of his own body, yet also not totally belonging to the outside world. It often acts as a bridge between baby and mommy and daddy.

Infants, toddlers and young children use their security objects at different “transitional” times. For example, the object often helps them to fall asleep without having to be held.  In addition, the child may want the object when mom is or dad is not available, when he is visiting a new place, or when he is teething, cranky, or has just hurt himself.

For very young babies, start to get them used to a transitional object by having it with you at feedings and cuddle time. Stroke baby’s check with a lovie, and touch his hand to it. It is not a bad idea to rub the lovie on you, even placing it in your bra against your skin from time to time, this way it has mommy or daddy's scent on it. Getting baby familiar with the lovie now, will help baby to accept the lovie as a transitional object when he is a bit older. Once baby can roll over by himself and is easily able to swat away objects, you can begin to put the lovie in the crib with baby for naps and bedtime.

As your child develops out of the toddler and preschool years, the transitional object will gradually lose its initial meaning. Despite your fears that your child will want to take their lovie to college with them, most security objects will eventually disappear or fade into the background. Then there's Linus.

PS. We  recommend you have multiples of the same animal so you're never without whether left in the car, at grandmas house or you've put it in the wash. We love Angel Dear's A Pair & A Spare Gift Set.