Today we have a guest post from the lovely Jenn at BabyZzz, with a post that looks at ways to ease separation anxiety. You can connect with BabyZzz on Facebook and Twitter (@mybabyzzz) and read the blog here.
I was recently at a children’s event, and while my twin boys were getting their face painted, the emcee announced that they had found a little stuffed bunny and could the owner come and claim it. Knowing the value of a treasured toy first hand, I hoped that the bunny and the little girl or boy who owned it would soon be reunited. The stuffed bunny looked very loved (translation: worn out and a little dirty), and if the child’s relationship with the bunny was anything like my daughter’s relationship with her “Piggy”, I knew the bunny would be missed. Luckily, the little stuffed bunny found its owner and I’m sure the parents breathed a huge sigh of relief. The lovey had been found.
A lovey, often called a transitional object, is that much loved item that a child will attach themselves to. It could be a stuffed toy, doll, blanket or even a pacifier. A lovey can help a child deal with separation anxiety, and it provides comfort when Mommy and Daddy can’t be there. As the child gets older, the lovey can also help reduce nighttime fears and make the child feel protected as they fall asleep and when they wake in the night.
Many children choose their own lovey and become attached to it sometime after 6 months of age. If your child hasn’t chosen a lovey themselves, you can try to choose one for them. Pick something that is safe and isn’t a suffocation or choking risk. Also, try to pick something small so that they don’t use it later as a stepping stool to get out of the crib. To ensure its cozy feel, you should pick a lovey that is soft and easily washable. Finally, you might want to consider picking something that is replaceable (although keep in mind that they can often tell the difference between their beloved lovey and a replacement!).
You can help your child become attached to a lovey by encouraging them to bond with something. Include the lovey in the naptime and bedtime routine. Tuck the lovey in between you and the child when feeding or nursing. You can also play games with it, or rub it against their skin so that they can feel its softness. You might also want to try wearing the lovey against your own skin for a while, so that it has Mommy’s familiar scent. Ultimately they will be the ones to choose their lovey, but you can try to influence their decision. Overtime, they will see the lovey as an extension of Mommy or Daddy, and it will give them that extra reassurance when you can’t be next to them.