When To Say "Bye" to Your Child's Security Blanket
When is the right time to wean your child off the security blanket or stuffed animal she can't part with? Here's the good news: This is one piece of your child's life that you don't have to think about, worry about, or deal with. Just let it ride!
Now, you may be wondering, "Well, if I just let my kid stay completely attached to her blanket, shouldn't I be worried that it will become unhealthy at some point?"
That's a great question.
Think of it this way: How many 12-year-olds have you seen hauling a blankie around? How about a doll or a stuffed dog?
How many 10-year-olds have you seen doing this? Eight-year-olds?...
Probably none. That's because children become keenly aware of their peers and their surroundings as they grow. Believe it or not, your child absolutely WILL wean himself from his security item on his own at the appropriate time. Guaranteed.
Now, he or she may still want to sleep with this object (since they don't encounter many peers during the night).
Okay. What's the problem with that? Seriously! They have something that makes them feel warm, secure, and happy. We spend our entire parenting lives trying to provide those three elements for our children but feel pressured to rip all three away when our kids seem attached to something benign.
If you want to really impart security to your child, go the extra mile and tell them that you will never make them give up their doggie (or blankie or whatever). Tell them they can take it to college if they want to. The expression on their face when you announce this will be utter relief and happiness.
Do you have older children who have already given up their security item? You need to talk to them about never teasing the younger sibling or making light of this aspect of their lives in front of other children. Speak to them about how that would make little sister feel. Tell them that in this family, we don't try to put others down or embarrass them in public. It's a good training time to focus on how you want the older siblings to treat the younger ones.
In the meantime, feel free to limit the extent to which blankie travels (getting "lost in Ross" could be a nightmare!). It can stay in the car or at home for excursions.
But don't rip something out of your child's life just because it seems time to let it go or because your friends mention that they've weaned their children off a beloved item. Years pass by quickly. Soon you'll be left with a tattered piece of cloth lovingly wrapped and put away in your closet. Enjoy seeing it hauled around the house for now.