As a parent, all you want to do for your child is the keep them safe and secure. As they become more independent and begin to the explore the world their need for that sense of security grows. They choose an object that they find comfort in and it becomes that one special toy, glued to them that you will struggle to separate them from in the future.
That one special toy
By the time your child is one year old they will have chosen and attached themselves to that one special toy. They won’t want to leave home without it.
It gets dragged through mud and puddles, covered in the food that hasn’t made it into their mouth. Then when it comes to bedtime you have a child who won’t go to sleep if it can’t be found. There will be tears and drama as they sit in front of the washing machine crying watching their special friend going round and round in a foamy wash.
As time goes by it will become a threadbare blankie, hatless bedtime bear or blind dog-eared doggy that smells pungent no matter how many times you have successfully managed to wash it.
Why do they get attached to this special friend?
It is an object that reminds your child of you. Because you hold and care for your child, your child hold and cares for an object in the same way. It becomes an object, a symbol, that they associate with you and comforts them when you are not there. Plus it helps them deal with the childhood fears such as dogs or being scared of the dark.
Tips to help your child let go of their special friend
- Have a duplicate – when the original goes AWOL a handy twin can be a quick solution to a crisis, though you can be sure they will eventually figure out the twin is not the original
- Set limits – Keep the toy in the house, let them pick a special place to keep it safe while you go out or even let it have a car ride but not inside the store.
- Plan some wash time – Your nose will thank you if your child gets used to their special friend having a wash.
- Keep your child busy – There will be less time to cling if there are lots of interesting things to do and play with.