The Psychology behind Transitional Objects a.k.a. Lovies

The Psychology behind Transitional Objects a.k.a. Lovies

Blankie, binkie, lovey…whatever you call your child’s comfort objects, the technical term is Transitional Objects.  The blankets, toys, stuffed animals and sometimes other household items that your infant or toddler latches onto are all a normal part of his developing psychology.

In the great big world of scary things – strangers, shots, broccoli – kids need something to make them feel secure.  At some point in the first or second year of life, many kids find the “object of their affection” that makes them feel safe.  Often from their crib, this item probably travels around with your child wherever he goes.  And all the experts say IT’S OK!

Having an obsession with a blanket or toy is rarely ever an issues or indication of a huge psychological problem.  It may seem strange to you that your little one chooses Oscar the Grouch as his “lovey,” but it’s less about what the item is and more about having something to hold onto.  In fact, it actually may do your child some good to have a transitional object because it allows him to explore and become more independent at this young stage without fear.  Once he matures, he will let it go and learn to find that same strength from within.  Most kids grow out of their transitional objects by the age of five.

If you feel your child’s transitional object is becoming a nuisance in your household or a hindrance to his growth and development (such as not wanting to play, socialize or be active), you can employ a few tricks to help relieve the issue.  Never tease your child about his object and don’t bribe it away completely.  When it comes to feeling safe and secure in the world, children need to wean themselves and ease into being a more mature individual.

With that said, you can set some limits and guidelines to perpetually having a comfy cozy object follow your child wherever he goes.  Perhaps you invoke an “at home only” rule where the object cannot go outside the house.  And make sure this beloved item has its own special place in your home where you can always find it.  Should your child lose it, have a back-up on hand to avoid major meltdowns.  Baths are necessary for children and transitional objects too, so wash the item regularly to ensure it is not filthy and stinky.  To subtly help reduce time spent with transitional objects, try to keep your child occupied with games, toys, puzzles and art projects.  And offer lots of love and affection to help your little one feel safe and secure with your love.

The bottom line is that children will lose the lovie when they are ready.  The psychology behind transitional objects is quite rational and every parent wants their child to feel secure and brave enough to face the world in their own time.  With your love and encouragement, your child will be a well-adjusted, independent and lovey-free person before you know it.