A blanket, toy, comforter, or any other object can have more than just sentimental value to young kids. They're called transitional objects, and they help toddlers face changes.
These items are considered an important part of the children's development. Kids get attached to these objects as a way to find support to face the transformations that happen after they're born.
What are transitional objects?
Transitional objects can be anything that offers safety and comfort to the baby. This term was invented in the 50s by the pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. According to him, infants see themselves and the mother as a whole.
As the months go by, babies become aware of their individuality and discover that their mother can't always be present at all times. So, the little ones look for comfort in these objects - be it a teddy bear, blanket or comforter. The pediatrician Dr. Moises Chencinski reinforces that the nap provides peace of mind for children, as it tends to replace the mother's lap in the child's imagination.
This is why the little one ends up getting attached to the object as a form of support to face this process, from "absolute dependence" to "relative dependence". Besides calming down, the chosen item helps the child to gain the confidence to face other obstacles in life, such as sleeping alone, the first day of school, and others.
Comforter during bedtime
Transition objects symbolize the mother and the protection that the mother figure offers. For this reason, so many parents encourage the use of comforters, especially during bedtime.
Naps have a fundamental role when kids start sleeping alone, in their room, helping with their emotional development. Children understand that, with this object, they're not alone.
Doctor Moises Chencinski explains that, because of that, it's understandable when a child complains when the comforter is washed or replaced. However, the object does need proper hygiene.
As time goes by, when the child reaches the age of two, they already understand these moments of absence. Therefore, the recommendation is to start removing these objects of support from that age.