Every toddler goes through the phase when they cannot think of going anywhere without their favorite blanket or much loved soft toy. These objects are regarded as comfort objects. They are often an important part of the emotional and intellectual development in the toddler.
Who Are The Ones Who Need Comfort Objects:
Almost 70 percent of the toddlers go for comfort objects. Those who don’t, they have other self-soothing techniques like thumb sucking or rocking back and forth. It basically depends on the child’s temperament.
What Are The Usual Comfort Objects:
The most common comfort object is the blanket. It is probably so because they are extremely familiar to the child as they remain in the crib. Other comfort objects are soft toys like teddy bears or cloth dolls. The familiar smell of their comfort object is also an important factor.
Why Kids Need Their Comfort Objects:
Comfort objects act as the transitional props between the child and their parents. By the time a child is one year old, they learn to distinguish themselves as a separate person. But the child is not necessarily comfortable with this new found independence.
They still have mixed feelings and need someone to hold on to emotionally. Since they cannot really have their parents around all the time, these comfort objects give them that feeling of security and affection. With these objects the child can control their own comfort.
These objects fill in the space between the comfort provided by an adult and the child. Whenever the child needs some comforting, they can simply cuddle their favorite object and their need will be met.
A familiar object also helps them to go through the periods of anxiety or dismay. They also comfort them when they get angry with people, even with their parents.
Often when the child is made to go out in some place unfamiliar, they tend to take their comfort object as it makes them feel secure in those surroundings.
Points To Remember:
It is advisable to have at least one or two spare pieces of the comfort object. This is because, if it gets lost by any chance, it would be extremely difficult to console the child. Hence, it always helps to have one or two pieces as a backup.
It is not necessary that every child will go for a particular comfort object during their toddler days. Hence, if a child doesn’t show a special preference towards a single toy, that means they haven’t yet come across that method of handling distress and are probably used to some other way.
Many parents worry that their child may become over dependent on the comfort object. There is nothing to worry as most children grow out of that phase and eventually discard that object. It is better to leave it to the child to decide when they want to give up their comfort object.
It has been a big emotional support and they need to feel completely ready before giving it up. In case the child seems to having continued issues with security, then one can visit a child counselor.