Q. My 1-year-old is going to start childcare soon, and her new teacher suggests bringing a stuffed animal to help her with the transition. My daughter doesn't really have a lovey right now. What should I do?
A. Think about the different stuffed animals, dolls, or blankets your child has, and choose the one you think she may be most connected to. Start to integrate this object into your everyday soothing routines. For example, hold the bear or blanket on your lap as you cuddle with your child while reading books or as you rock and sing to her before naps and bedtime. You can also incorporate it into your daughter's playtime in whatever way possible. The idea is to have your child connect the object with the warmth and trust she experiences with you so that it can serve as a substitute when she can't be with you. Even if your daughter doesn't become attached to it, the familiar object can still give her comfort and help her feel safe.
Support & Care During Transition
If this doesn't work, make a photo album of your family and home she can take to childcare and look at when she's feeling sad. Also keep in mind that some children don't need a lovey to make a healthy adjustment to childcare. Many children need time and support to make the transition, but others are simply more flexible by nature and don't need comforting objects to help them cope with change.
Claire Lerner, LCSW, is a child development specialist at Zero to Three, a nationwide nonprofit that promotes the healthy development of babies and toddlers (zerotothree.org).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, February 2007.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.