A lovey, or a transitional object, is a blankie, doll or stuffed toy that a child will attach themselves to. It becomes their beloved companion, and will be dragged everywhere the child goes. Lovies become an extension of the parents and they provide comfort when Mommy and Daddy aren’t right next to them. Many children will begin to show interest in a lovey sometime after 6 months of age, and it should be encouraged, as long as the item is safe and not a choking hazard.
There are many reasons why your child will benefit from having a lovey. It’s familiar scent and feel will help relax them and make them feel comfortable, making it easier to go to sleep. They will often rub their lovey against their face, or suck on it to help them drift off. Lovies also help when children go through phases of separation anxiety, whether it’s in the middle of the night or at daycare. When children are a little older and start to experience night time fears, having a lovey nearby will help the child feel protected as they fall asleep or when they wake in the night.
If your child hasn’t chosen a lovey themselves, you can help them choose one by encouraging them to bond with something. You probably want to choose something that is soft, washable and easily replaceable (although they can usually tell the difference between their lovey and an imposter!). Once you’ve chosen something, try these 3 easy tips to help your child bond with the lovey.
1. Include it in your daily activities
Tuck the lovey in between you during feedings, play peek-a-boo with it during playtime, include it in your bedtime routine, and rub the soft lovey against their skin so they get used to its feel and smell. Help them feel comfortable with the lovey while you are close by.
2. Give it Mommy’s familiar smell
It helps if the lovey smells like Mommy when you can’t physically be in the room. Wear the lovey next to your skin for a day to help give it Mom’s familiar smell.
3. Introduce it during nap and bedtime
Introduce the lovey into the crib by tucking it in their arms when they go to sleep and encouraging them to hold on to it. While they are lying in their crib, rub it against their face so they can feel its softness.
Your child is ultimately the one who is going to choose their lovey, but you can help influence that decision. Be consistent about helping them bond to it, and they should have a new beloved companion in just a few days.