It is an important emotional landmark for a baby or a child. Find out why parents should let them keep their cuddly toy, an important object for the construction of their personality and their emotional security.
While some cuddly toys accompany the child until adulthood, some parents may wonder how long this object should last. However, the latter is of capital importance in the psychological development of toddlers.
What is the role of the comforter?
When the baby is born, the relationship with the mother can be fusional. And for good reason, the very first months of life, the baby can imagine that he constitutes the same entity with the one who gives him the breast or feeds him. It is only when he acquires the consciousness that he apprehends better that he has an individuality which makes him distinct from his parents. At this time, he can look for a transition object, which is more commonly called the comforter, which reassures him during his sorrows and before falling asleep. It can be a stuffed animal, a sheet or an item of clothing that gives her a sensation similar to that of the mother’s presence that brings a feeling of comfort and security. If some children and adults adopt the comforter in their daily life, others do not feel this need.
Why is this object important?
If it is important not to deprive baby of this so-called “transitional” object, it is because it reflects an adaptation of the child who ends up becoming more autonomous. The cuddly toy remains a bridge between complicity with the mother and entry into childhood. It can soothe the baby before entering sleep and remind that fusion he had with his mother. To integrate this object into the life of an infant, keep it close to the baby when he suckles or is in skin-to-skin contact with you. It is these rituals that will create this relationship with the cuddly toy. And for good reason, affection is fundamental for a baby. According to a study, brain development is greater when children receive more hugs.
What do you replace a comforter with?
The ideal age to part with this transitional object does not exist. It is naturally replaced by the child because it is substituted by other activities such as games or socializing. After the age of 5, this difficulty in separating from the cuddly toy can be problematic. After this, it is necessary to seek the advice of a specialist or a child psychologist. Solène Bourque, psychoeducator, explains that the separation with this “transition” object is a personal initiative of the child. Thus, the latter may no longer feel the desire or the need to have a cuddly toy. This relation to the object is part of education. According to Harvard, there are secrets to raising a child well.
What benefits does the comforter bring to the child?
The specialist indicates that if the child separates from his cuddly toy, it is because the language allowed him to express his pain or his boredom to his parents. He may also have more self-confidence or have replaced the need for this affective object with his social development. However, the child will be able to come back to the latter if a difficult event occurs such as the arrival of a new baby or even a move. In this case, it is not recommended that the parent insist on this separation because the child will emancipate himself from his cuddly toy when he is more peaceful.
How can I help my child to detach himself from this object?
Although it is not recommended that parents suddenly remove this transitional object, it is possible to gradually separate the child from his cuddly toy by reassuring him and making him responsible. During important events such as a change of environment or his entry into the nursery, you can entrust him and ask the educator to analyze when he expresses the need to have his cuddly toy. The expert suggests that at 3 or 4 years old, the child has a framework for the times when he can keep this maternal substitute. The psychoeducator advises setting up a special place for the latter so that he can store it during his meals or his playing hours if he wants to. This space will allow him to use it less because he will know that he can have it when he wishes.If he asks for it during meals, you can put the comforter nearby. In the event that the child realizes that he has left this object at home, it is recommended not to go and retrieve it. You can let him know that if he has forgotten it, that may mean that he needs it less and that he will find it at home very soon. Only, if your child is particularly anxious about this oversight, it will have to be recovered.