What is toddler attachment?
It may be a stuffed giraffe, a dinosaur, a threadbare blankie or a dog eared doggy. This item, whatever it is is glued to our child’s body or within easy reach at all times. He or she resists all attempts to let the object out of their sight, even if its just long enough for you to wash it.
Why does it happen?
Most children will get attached to a particular object before their first birthday. This attachment will usually peak in the second year when toddlers begin to explore the world and become independent.
These objects provide children with a sense of security. They provide comfort when childhood fears begin such as a fear of the dark or strangers.
Should i worry about toddler attachment?
No. Your son won’t earn his diploma with that pink teddy in tow, don’t worry.
Most kids will bid farewell to their toy or blankie by the age of five. If your child would rather be in a closet snuggling with his blankie or bear instead of outside playing then you should be concerned. In such cases, it is up to the parent to find out what is causing your child to retreat.
What should i do?
Firstly and most importantly,you should never tease your child about their beloved object.
Do not insist on making them give it up. You can make it easier for them to give it up, but this will usually happen naturally.
- Set limits by letting your child know the object of their affection is fine to be carried around in the house but not outside, or it can go in the car but not in the store
- Enlist your child’s help in finding a safe place to keep their item while playing outside
- Schedule laundry. Let your child know that just the same way that they need to bath so does their toy, your nose and theirs will thank you for it.
- Buy a duplicate if possible and swap it out when the original goes missing thereby preventing a meltdown
- Keep him or her occupied with something else. If your child is playing with friends or building puzzles, their hands will be too busy to hold onto that pink teddy
- Provide support. Give lots of reassurance so your child knows that the toy or object is not their only source of solace.
These objects help children to transition from a world where they are completely dependent on their parents to a world where they are exploring on their own and gaining their independence.
What was your child’s first attachment? Are they still lugging that raggedy teddy everywhere?
First published at whattoexpect.com