Take yourself back to when you were a child and think about your favorite things. While you may reminisce about the simple times of childhood, there is a chance you had one thing that you couldn't imagine life without (and that you'd cry over if you forgot it anywhere): your comfort object. For some this was a special toy or stuffed animal, for others a security blanket aka a lovey to hold close. Today we're exploring what loveys are, their purpose, and the benefits they can bring for your little one.
A lovey is an object that your little one bonds with in order to feel comforted and secure. Often times children will drag along their lovey wherever they go. A lovey can be considered what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls a "transitional object". Transitional objects help children make an emotional transition from dependence to independence and typically your baby will make their choice of their lovey between eight and twelve months old, according to the APP.
So what are all the benefits of loveys?
First, they can help provide emotional security to babies, especially during times of separation from their primary caregivers. As a baby develops an attachment to their lovey, it becomes familiar to them. The scent, texture, and even just the presence of the lovey can help easy anxiety and create a safe space for your little one, which can help reduce stress and promote emotional resilience.
Second, lovey's can actually be a valuable tool in your parental arsenal. Lovey's can help babies learn how to self-soothe, as they learn to rely on their comfort object to feel calm and content. This can become particularly evident during bedtime, as babies can associate the presence of the lovey with rest and sleep. Extra benefit: a lovey can even help them develop healthy sleep routines! One thing to make sure: keep the lovey out of your little one's crib for the first year of life and make sure it doesn't have any little pieces that could pose as a choking hazard.
Third, as babies grow and face new experiences (say daycare or traveling), a lovey can serve as a constant source of familiarity and comfort. Since a lovey can typically go wherever they go, it helps serve as a constant throughout the day and can act as a transition aid, enabling them to adapt more easily to unfamiliar environments and even reduce the impact of separation anxiety.
Fourth, lovey's can actually enhance the bond between baby and their primary caregivers. It may seem counterintuitive, but when a parent or caregiver introduces the lovey into the child's life, it becomes a shared experience and helps create a deeper emotional connection between the two.
Finally, lovey's can be a part of your little one's sensory stimulation experience. The soft texture and feel of a lovey can be stimulating for a baby's developing sensors, providing a sensory-rich experience that aids in cognitive development. Select high contrast patterns to add a double benefit that can improve visual stimulation too!
Loveys can play a pivotal role in a baby's early life, providing emotion security, comfort, and stability. In a world filled with new experiences, a lovey can be a steadfast companion and accompany your little one through their journey of growth and discovery. (Pro tip: always buy an extra just in case the first one is lost - this can save you from a full on meltdown!)