You might notice at this age (or even younger) that your child probably has an object that they always have by their side. It might be a blanket, a stuffed animal, or any other object that your child finds comfort in. This is a ‘lovey’ or a ‘transitional object’.
What’s so special about a lovey?
A lovey may just seem like a favorite toy or object but in reality, it serves a deeper emotional purpose for your child. During this time, your child is likely going through a lot of transitions, whether that’s going to school, being weaned off breastfeeding or having a new nanny. A lovey provides your child with emotional comfort during these difficult transitions.
What if your child loses their lovey?
If you’ve ever been in this situation, you’ll know that nothing can replace a lovey. Even if you find a similar blanket or stuffed toy, your child will insist on the exact same one. To prevent this from happening:
1. Buy a duplicate of your child’s lovey before (touch wood) it gets lost. You’ll know very quickly once your child develops an attachment to an object because they’ll take it everywhere, especially to sleep.
2. Be honest and up front. Tell your child that it’s lost but that you’ll look for it. There’s no point trying to convince them that it will reappear because your child will continue to ask about it.
3. Validate their feelings. Tell your child that it’s okay to be upset and offer a hug. Sit with them through their sadness. They’ll also see that you care about their feelings.
- 4. Try to offer a replacement. You can try to offer a replacement, such as another stuffed animal. You can also try distractions, such as offering to read a storybook or do an activity together.
Losing a lovey is tougher on your child than you can imagine, but it does serve as an important early lesson in dealing with loss. As long as you remain attentive and responsive to their feelings, you will both be okay.