Blankies and Teddy Bears

Is your child never without his favorite blanket or teddy bear? We tell you why these cherished objects are so important to your little one.

toddler holding lovey Heather Weston

Many toddlers seem to need the comfort that a cherished soft toy or blanket provides. Such transitional objects, which represent Mommy when she is absent, usually become extremely important to the child sometime around the first birthday. These transitional objects are used primarily to help a child fall asleep or to provide comfort during stressful times.

If your 2-year-old still has a fierce attachment to a teddy bear, a cloth diaper, or a baby blanket, don't worry. Sooner or later, she'll outgrow it. But if your toddler seems to need her favored object all day long, perhaps she could use more parental cuddling and affection. Increase your one-on-one time with her, and keep her busy and distracted.

Another toddler habit, thumb sucking, can be worrisome to parents who foresee huge dental bills in their future. But many experts say that trying to wean your child from this habit at the age of 2 will probably only prolong it. Your weaning efforts may only stir up the insecurities that are triggering the thumb sucking. Better to wait until your child is 4 or 5 years old, when her reasoning skills and ability to cope with daily stress will be vastly improved.