Blankies and lovies serve a crucial purpose, easing stress as children come into their own.
Preference for a transitional object actually mirrors a growing ability for your children to form attachments to people.
Traditionally, special stuffed animals and blankies has helped to put the salve on separation anxiety typically felt by children separating from their Mommy, Daddy and caretaker.
These “transitional objects” help to calm, soothe and become a means of the child learning how to self soothe.
My good friends daughter, Sadie, has a very special blankie that she travels with to every destination. One side is called “Baby Blankie” the other side is called “Mommy Blankie.” Sadie and her blankie have been with each other from her infancy to the present. She talks to it as is it alive and believe you me it feels alive, like a friend to Sadie. I was talking just the other day to both sides of her blankie. How sweet for Sadie and I to have a conversation to literally both sides of Sadie. I could see how she is comforted and soothed as she ventures forth into her life, moving now from her 4’s, pre-school to her 5’s and kindergarden.
Dr. Barbara Howard, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at John Hopkins suggested that as many as 25% of young women going off to college take along something identifiable as a transitional object.
The challenges of separation and the consolations and complexities of attachment are not developmentally confined to the first few years of life. I feel there is no shame in bringing some scraps of an old receiving blanket, a treasured stuffed animal to help our college gal navigate the challenges of separation and normal separation anxiety stirred up by new challenges and changes. The blankie creates more of a “gentle separation” so much more manageable.
I just purchased a small blankie for a favorite college gal and bought a few extras for my “Tackling Temper Tantrums with Humor for Parents with children ages 1–5,” for my Elmo, Cookie and Lamb Chop Puppets. Hey, they need some soothing too. :)