When my daughter was 6 months old, she began holding on to a lock of my hair whenever I would rock her to sleep. She’d suck her right thumb and with her left hand, she’d place my hair right over her tiny nose.
I bought her a pink blankie hoping it would take the place of my hair, but she hung on to both for years.
My daughter was never stingy about sharing her blankie or her thumb. She’d often offer me her thumb, which I would place in my mouth, to her delight. She also shared her blankie with the rest of the family whenever she thought someone needed it.
I was worried about what sucking her thumb would do to her teeth and so I tried the yucky thumb sucking nail polish. Just before I would put some on her thumb, she would suck her thumb for a few seconds, trying to squeeze as much comfort as she could from it.
Experts estimate that more than 60 percent of children in the United States have some sort of security object. Security objects play a very important role in a child’s development, since they can help a child learn how to comfort himself.
Children will usually find a security object by the end of their first year. This is when children begin to understand the possibility of separation from their parents. It’s an exciting time filled with many discoveries but it is also a scary time.
Children with security objects often feel emotions intensely. Mother’s of these children will describe them as being ‘cuddlers’.
Parents can play an important part in the relationship with their child’s security objects. If you set boundaries early enough in the relationship most children will accept them.
I never allowed my daughter to take her blankie outside of the home. When she insisted on bringing it along I would suggest she leave it behind for one of her babies.
It’s wasn’t uncommon to walk into my family room and see Barney wrapped up in her blankie sitting on the couch. When we went on vacation blankie was always tucked in my purse for bedtime or her nap.
She sucked her thumb for years and eventually gave it up on her own. Blankie went off to college with her and has a special place in her room.
Children give up their security objects when they’re ready usually when their life becomes filled up with other activities.
Next time your child is sitting with her favorite blankie, take some time to cuddle with her, and be grateful it is part of her life.