Attachment objects – did you have one as a little one? I have a picture in my head of Snoopy’s friend Linus and his beloved blanky. This scrap of blue, well-loved material follows Linus wherever he goes. He selfishly guards it and even Snoopy may not infringe this territory. Because of the reach of this famous cartoon, a baby’s attachment or security object became known as a Linus blanky. Call it what you will – a lovey, doodoo, lala or taglet; security or attachment objects are an important part of your baby’s emotional development.
As your baby realizes that they are separate from you, they gain a piece of independence. This independence is a scary space for little ones and an attachment object creates comfort when mom can’t be around. Self-soothing using a ‘doodoo’ blanky is important and babies who successfully soothe using a comfort object are more secure.
Choosing an attachment object
It goes without saying that attachment objects should be safe to use and preferably designed for little ones. If it’s a blanky – don’t choose one that is too heavy or too big. Choose soft textures and breathable materials. Most babies also enjoy exploring textures and if using a taglet for example – you may find your little one will prefer certain textures on the item.
How to encourage an attachment object
We’ve already mentioned that forming an attachment to an appropriate inanimate object is an emotional development. I have a few tips to make it a bit easier for little ones that don’t seem to take to it naturally:
- Encourage your 4-8 month old to develop an attachment to something that comforts them, be it a soft toy or a small blanky. Wear the object on your body for a few days until it has your scent. Start giving it to your baby when they are falling asleep, in a new environment or upset for comfort.
- If you little one wakes at night and doesn’t require a feed, give them their attachment object to hold.
- From 2 years old limit the ‘doodoo’ to sleep times.
- Always have more than one of this item so that it can be replaced if lost. Lots of special bunnies and bears have gone missing – much to the little owner’s dismay.
- Don’t worry about ‘removing’ the comfort object while they are little (under 6 years old).
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