Leaving Lovey: Your Child’s Attachment to a Stuffed Animal, Blanket
Your child may be—or perhaps, should be—getting close to braving the world without that tattered lovey. It’s a big milestone—this lovey has provided comfort for your child for some time now, and has even helped him develop self-soothing skills. The lovey has been there in good times and in bad, and it may even seem like a part of the family! Sometimes, it can even difficult for Mom and Dad to say farewell to the lovey.
Here are some tips and ideas for leaving the lovey behind:
- Don’t put too much pressure on your child to pass up the lovey. This may cause anxiety and can actually make it more difficult for her to let go. Instead, encourage every positive step in the process.
- Encourage your child to take the first step by leaving the lovey in her cubby or backpack during the day or while out running errands.
- Don’t be surprised if your child cuddles up with her lovey again for comfort during a stressful time, such as a new sibling’s arrival. When the stressor has passed, your child will be more willing to start letting the lovey go.
- Purchase a “create-your-own” stuffed animal or doll kit, or visit a store where children can build their own stuffed animal. Make it a fun and exciting process. Encourage your child to put the lovey inside just before the stuffed animal is sewn shut. This little stuffed animal can keep lovey safe and sound during the day, all from the comfort of your child’s pillow.
- Respect your toddler’s attachment to the lovey. Talk to your child it in a relaxed way. Let her know that you understand why she loves and will miss the lovey. Don’t punish or embarrass your child into giving up the lovey—she’ll be ready one day.
- Consider the “Lovey-Fairy” when all else fails. Cuddle up with your child during a comfy, quiet, low-key time and tell your child a story of the Lovey-Fairy who collects loveys from children who are ready to be “big girls” and “big boys.” Let your child know that when she is ready, she can pack up her lovey to trade to the Fairy for a very special reward. Keep it fun, positive and low pressure—and most importantly, let her decide when she is ready. You may be surprised how quickly your child is ready to make the trade!