Some of us have memories of toting around a favorite blanket, pillow, or toy when we were little. When it comes to our children, while it is endearing to see them with their favorite toy, it can also be frustrating when they refuse to leave them to be washed or to do other activities. New parents may have many questions regarding this behavior, such as whether it is normal, the age when the child should outgrow it, and what parents can do about it. If you are wondering about the same questions, read this article to understand what to expect when your kids get attached to toys.
WHY KIDS GET ATTACHED TO TOYS
Objects that kids most commonly attached to include toy animals, pillows, blankets, and their thumbs. These are called transitional objects and they help provide a sense of comfort and security when young children are just starting to explore an unfamiliar world and learning to be more independent.
IS IT NORMAL?
Having a transitional object is normal for young children. Most of them become attached to their transitional object before they turn one year old, but this behavior typically peaks when they are two. At this age, kids are starting to notice the world more and need an extra sense of security when faced with their childhood fears, such as the fear of strangers and darkness. Most children are ready to let go of their transitional objects by the time they reach five years old, but some may hold on to their toys for longer, especially when they are stressed. If the attachment becomes excessive and the child is snuggling with their toy so much that they forgo time doing other activities, such as interacting with friends, it may be time to consider if there is an underlying issue that is putting them under intense stress.
WHAT TO DO
Many parents want to give their children the support they need but are not aware of how to do so without hurting them. Making fun of a child about their attachment to a beloved toy, taking their toy away forcefully, or discarding it to end the attachment are all terrible ideas as they can exacerbate their feelings of insecurity. While an excessive attachment is unhealthy, it is important to allow the child to let go of their transitional object when they are ready. Here are some steps to support your child:
- Set reasonable limits, such as allowing the child to carry the toy around at home but not outside
- Set a fixed washing schedule
- Engage the child with plenty of activities to keep them busy
- Provide them with ample of comfort and security to reduce their stress levels
SHOP FOR TOYS AT KIDPOWERED
KidPowered has plenty of educational toys to keep children entertained when they are ready to let go of their transitional objects. Contact us to learn more.