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What's A Little Comfort?

What's A Little Comfort?

What's A Little Comfort?

Chances are your child isn't going to his high school prom with his favorite "blankie" in tow. Yet as a toddler ages, parents often wonder when the right time to take away that special comfort object is.

Turns out many of us opt to let our children grow out of their need rather than force the issue. While specific approaches are as varied as parenting styles and children's personalities, the most recurrent theme among posts on this topic in various threads on Circle of Moms is: Don't rush your child into giving up the item that makes them feel safe.

This is true even when baby blankets are dragged through mud puddles by eager two year-olds and when oft-repeated squeezes have worn the fuzz off a beloved bunny.


"I will let my son have his 'lovey' and elephant until he decides he doesn't need them. They make him feel safe," posts Michelle C. in the Toddler Moms community.

"My daughter's favorite thing is her rag doll. She's two and won't go anywhere without it. When she can't find her she says, 'Alice?'" shares April J., also in the Toddler Moms community.

"There is nothing wrong with comfort items, they help toddlers self-soothe and help them feel secure when they are exploring," says Leigh C., whose 16-month son is attached to "Bunny VanGogh and his teddy bear Rupert."

For some kids, the need for a security item stays with them long past the toddler years.

Holly's oldest daughter, now 8 years old, still sleeps with a favorite blanket: "All my girls have their blankets," she writes. "My eight-year-old has to have her purple fuzzy blanket when she sleeps. She can sleep without it, but she doesn't sleep as well and she wakes up a lot if it's not there."

Amber P.'s son is also a blanket aficionado. She is trying to get him to accept other blankets.

"I am trying to ease him into using different blankets because I don't like fighting with him every time I need to wash it," she posts.

Holly can relate to that challenge. To convince her younger daughters to relinquish their favorite blankets, even briefly, she has to explain that "their blankies need a bath — just like people," and that they get washed in a special bath tub just for blankets. As she tells it: "Then I pick the kids up and they put their blankies in the washing machine themselves." Her girls help put in the "blankie shampoo" (better known to moms as laundry detergent). "Then they tell blankie to have a good bath and push the start button."

She admits it sounds ridiculous, but it works for her and it keeps her daughters from melting down when they don't have access to their comfort object for the duration of the wash cycle.

"It (has) cut out any blankie washing screaming," she reports.

Not all kids are attached to blankets. For some, the pacifier is the item they can't let go of well into the toddler years. Many moms are motivated to dispense with this habit because of the possibility that pacifiers can cause health issues. (For more on this, see 6 Tips for Pacifier Weaning and Thumb Vs. Pacifier: Which Is Better For Your Baby?)

Amber M. has an elaborate plan to end her daughter's pacifier dependency that involves a visit from "the pacifier gnome." Her friend is coming to her home dressed in costume to play the role of a gnome who will permanently remove the pacifier from her daughter's life. Her friend is going "to come and take her pacis from her to give to little babies who need them."

While some go to great lengths to end their child's relationship with a comfort items, many parents will go to great lengths to help their child maintain it. When Jennifer T.'s six-month old son's bunny blankie was left behind at a relative's home, "my husband had to drive 25 minutes to their house to retrieve it," she shares in the Toddler Moms community.

And for some moms, the ever-present comfort object makes for irreplaceable memories:

"We have to laugh when we look back at pictures from when he was one to around four years old," writes Irene K. about her now 12 year-old son's reliance on his Pooh Bear. "He (Pooh Bear) went on vacation with us, he went to restaurants, (and) church. Poor Pooh Bear has a stain on his shirt, chewed-on ears, and he's pretty beat up."

When you do feel it's time to draw the line however, many moms recommend a certain protocol. Sherri B. suggests leaving the bedtime comfort object ritual intact and starting out instead by setting limit on where these objects can travel during the day: "I do think it is okay to a tell a child that they may not take an object somewhere - like in a store, (or) church," she advises. "My boys have special places they leave their objects in the car. They feel big putting them in the special spots themselves."

Misty G.'s daughter's comfort item, her blankies, became helpful motivators of her participation in a more grown-up activity: "She planned our fire escape with a way to get her blankies out in case of a fire," she writes.

Then again, some of us just never outgrow our comfort items.

When I am ill or sad, the only place I want to be is snuggled up is underneath a bulky quilt that was hand-sewn by my Grandma Schutte.

Perhaps Keri R. can relate.

"You're going to hate me for this, but I have a comfort object and I'm 29," she posts in the Toddler Moms community. "It is a teddy bear I got for either Christmas or my second birthday. The fabric is thin and ripping, its arms have been sewn back on several times as has one of its eyes. I don't sleep with it anymore, but I'll die before I give him up."

Image Source: Jason Tromm via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
LisaKing45216 LisaKing45216 6 years
BridgetteG BridgetteG 6 years
If they have a fav something in mind that they really love no matter what it is just let them eventually they will end up growing out of it or should i say most things unless they need help to quit but i wouldn't push the issue i would help them to stop it if they give the word like I am too old to be doing this and give them advice on what can help them to stop it.
AprilLazore AprilLazore 6 years
Im 26 I still have my blankie i moved away from home and i still have buddy in tow with me my oldest asked once if it belonged to her i said "nope this mine! " so she asked for one for herself, so i made her and her sister one specially just for them, now they leave mine alone.. so in other words ur never to old for a blankie!!!!
KatieFarnes KatieFarnes 6 years
my son was about 3 n half when he stopped taking his cudly and little ted out in public.....his cudly was just a hand towel with a picture on it and he had about 5 different ones but always had to take one out with him, he needed it when he went to sleep etc...even now he is 10 years old he still has to have his cudly and little ted in bed with him and because he had so many they are still all in good condition as i was able to wash them etc...he doesnt actually cuddle them but he has to have them near by so i dont think there is a time when to take it away they will tell you when thery are ready...
kylierossbotham kylierossbotham 6 years
MMM well i am 38 and i still have a comfort toy a pair of boxer shorts with the silk on the waist ban i rub the crinkles with my finger its comforting and when i was younger it was a silk blanket or seam on the sheet!!
LexiCrawford95052 LexiCrawford95052 6 years
My son has his blankie, a stuffed dog named brown puppy and his binky (pacifier). At about 13 months old I started teaching him to say bye bye to them when he gets up in the morning. He's only allowed his "ni ni buddies" when it's time to sleep or on special occasions like when we get up early for a long drive. Now and then I pack his binky when I'm anticipating a long day out and about just in case he really starts struggling but I rarely use it. I slept with my special blankies and my special stuffed dog until I was in college. I took my dog and a teddy bear to college with me and packed my blankies into my hope chest. I'm going to be 30 in a few months. The teddy bear has slept in bed with me still off an on through college. It came to the hospital with me when I had my son (at age 28). I plan on letting my son have his lovies as long as he wants/needs them. We are debating weaning him off the ni ni binky soon tho. It got lost on the way home from a road trip last night but he went to bed last night, tonight and for his nap today, with out the binky and with no fuss. We're having a second baby in a few months though and I just feel bad, worrying that I shouldn't take it away when so much change will be coming and he might need the comfort.
LisaLusher LisaLusher 6 years
My 5 yr old son, still has his blankie at bedtime and it stays in his bed, he will give it up when he is ready and at least it cant hurt him, took away his dummy just over 2 yrs ago but cant see the big deal in taking away his blankie!!!
LisaHoffmanSchweitzer LisaHoffmanSchweitzer 6 years
My 3 year old loves his "troggy" frog and he has 4 blankets that he loves as well. They were his from baby showers and now we have a 10 month old and he has a hard time giving up one to his brother, but he does "let" him borrow it when we go somewhere and it is too cold outside. He keeps saying when his brother is old enough to sleep with a blanket, he will give him one of them and that works for me. My mom is making a blanket for our baby though, so he has his own as well. I see no reason to take blankets or stuffed animals away from a child. It won't hurt him/her and it does not look silly to see a young child with a blanket or stuffed animal. I am thankful that neither of my boys got into pacifier's, seen and heard too many horror stories on weaning kids off of them and a friend of mine's 4 year old had one for the quite a while and it looked quite silly, to me anyway. But, if he had a stuffed animal or blanket, that would not have looked silly. But, a 4 year old with a pacifier just looks a bit off. I still have many stuffed animals from when I was a child and I am happy to have them. I pull them out and look at them here and there, and have given a couple of them to my oldest to play with. :D
MelissaBaldwin80082 MelissaBaldwin80082 6 years
I am 38 and I still have my blankie from when I was a baby. I have taken with me on most every over night outing & vacation I have ever been on over the years. It is faded & worn with a few holes, but I still sleep with it every night...I use it more as a pillow. My 3 year old daugher has her own "gi-gi" and I will let her decide when & if she wants to give it up.
SherrySmith27144 SherrySmith27144 6 years
all 3 of my kids have a Mickey (blanket) they are fleece blankets they got as babies. My oldest son is 7 he still has to have his Mickey to sleep at night, my daughter is 4 and wants to take hers everywhere with her, and my 13 month old has to have his to sleep. At first we let them take their Mickey's everywhere with us, since we now have 3 kids and space is limited in the car, we have small blankets for the car. WE have also made sure there is a MIckey at Granny's and at Aunt Constances houw, therefore we don't have to drag them around to houses that they are staying at. When they go to their houses they know that they will have a mickey there and they are OK with it, all of their MIckey's are the same at each house, this is the comfort part. As my kids get older they are not so worried about taking their Mickey's everywhere. But at night they still have to have them. We didn't and won't force them to give them up. We all need something to comfort us when we need it.
CharityWilliams12211 CharityWilliams12211 6 years
I had a "bunny blanket" for 23 years. I had to leave it behind when I joined the army. But up until that point I took it to every sleepover (as a teenager, too). Even Grad-nite at Disney when I was graduating. I would have taken it to basic training with me if I had been allowed. Unfortunately, it fell apart in the wash machine while I was away. But my mom, bless her heart, made me a new one to replace the old one. Even now at 27 years old, I STILL miss that blanket and the way I always felt safe and comforted by it. My daugter is 2 years old and she and her pacifiers (which she has named "Osh" for reasons only God knows) are inseperable. Right now, I don't care if she still has an "Osh" at 3 years old. When the time is right, we will work on weaning her off of it. But she is still a baby and I don't want to force her to grow up any faster than necessary.
BlaineRoberts BlaineRoberts 6 years
i let my little man keep his "Mr. Blanky" in the house and in the car he doesn't mind leaving it unless he's going to sleep. he gave up the binkie on his own and hasn't asked for it in over 6 months
tashaparker29290 tashaparker29290 6 years
my sons the same way hes had his "frogs" blankie since he was a baby, loves to sleep with it , and when hes sick, hell carry it around all over the place
ClaudiaBeaudoin66906 ClaudiaBeaudoin66906 6 years
I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My 3 year old have a blue bear, and my 1 year old have a blankie. I have an extra of each, so I can wash them and they still feeling ok. I will let them keep them as long they need it. My older boy just need it to sllep, and my one year old also need it to sllep and when he is crying. I am in favor of having them because when they are away from me or theyer dad, they still having the confort of home, away from home.
JaimeWalline JaimeWalline 6 years
My 5 year old calls her blanket her Guck. My 20month old twins also have their blankies. Since the twins were born and have to now take care of 3 blankets instead of one, blankets stay at home, they can be used for bed, cuddling throughout the day, and to wipe tears when hurt of sad. But most of the time blankets stay in bed. I used to use the 'blankie is having a bath technique too'. Now I just sneak them out when the kids are asleep, they wake up and presto, blankie is clean :O) I also still have a 'blanket' I don't feel the security connection I used to when I was little, but its soft and it makes a great pillow. I can sleep with out it, being 30years old, but for some reason I just enjoy having it under my head at night. I see nothing wrong with security items, as long as they don't become a problem. I know when I was a kid my 'blankie' made me feel so much more safe at night when I needed to hide from imaginary monsters under my bed.
marieburrows marieburrows 6 years
my son like the silky labels on cloths for his comfort you can always tell when he's ready for bed because he will suck his thunb and rub the label in his pjs
NatashaHarms NatashaHarms 6 years
I have a 6 year old, he had a blankie that he slept with every night, until he turned about 4. He also had a stuffed animal (one from Wal Mart that did a prayer) and he called it baby, and probably got over that at 3. I now have a 20 month old, that has to have his blankie when he sits on the couch to watch cartoons, sits on the floor to read a book, goes for naps, or goes to bed. It has a tag that is sewn right into the blanket, and it has to be set up so he can hold onto the tag. I am sure he will outgrow it when the time is right, but until that time then blankie it is!!! I was very fortunate with my 6 year old, only time his blanket left the house, is if he was spending the night with a family member. Our 20 month old has never done this, but I am sure it would be the same. It does not leave the house, if we are going to the park or grocery shopping ect. I believe if it puts your child at ease, then so be it (embarassing or not, they will outgrow it when the time is right)
Jessica16373 Jessica16373 6 years
My Lilli has her Bunny that goes everywhere with her. The music box inside it doesn't work anymore, but she doesn't care. I have to do the same thing with the washer, too. She has to put Bunny in the 'bath' herself or she will start screaming. I'm not allowed to give Bunny a 'bath'. Lol! Bunny fell out of the shopping cart at Wal-Mart and we didn't realize this until we were putting her in the car. My Husband had to go back in the store and retrace our steps until he found Bunny. Bunny was left at the neighbors house one day and I was turning the house upside down until 11pm and then remembered she had it over there. Thank goodness my neighbors stay up late, too, because she was very understanding of my need to find Bunny right away. Lilli fell asleep within 5 minutes of Bunny returning to her. I have no plans on ever taking Bunny away from her. She's only 2 and she will give it up on her own eventually.
TanashaEvans64502 TanashaEvans64502 6 years
I am 33 years old. I still have a Sylvester (Loony Toons) stuffed animal I have had since I was 3. He has had his ears and tail sewn back on more times than I care to remember by my mom, but I still have him, and he will always be my absolute favorite toy from my childhood that I don't ever intend to give up. So if I can have a "lovey" at 33, why can't my daughter have one at age 4? She has a very very beloved blanket that she chose as her favorite when she was just a baby. She had two of the exact same fabric (velveteen soft.. made me want one lol), but one was purple and one was white. For whatever reason, the purple one became her favorite after my dad (meaning well) washed it with some old towels when they were watching her one night for us. It got covered in blue fuzz, but she has kept it with her ever since. One corner is her "spot" we call it. It has been worn by a little thumb to the point where it never comes completely clean and even now has a hole in it. She tucks her thumb in that hole, wraps the corner on her fingers, and sucks her other thumb until she falls asleep. Since she gave up her paci, and bottle on her own, I dont see any point in trying to force her away from this either. When she is ready, she will "give it up."
ElizabethHealey ElizabethHealey 6 years
I have an eight year old son that still sleeps and carrys around his "mickey dog dog" blanket everyday at the house. In the morning he puts it in the basket inside the door when he leaves for school and he picks it up the moment when he walks in the door. When all three of my kids turned 6 months the pacifires were taken away. When they turned a year there bottles were taken away. They each have a "luvy" that they sleep with and that is perfectly fine with me.
MazyZickefoose MazyZickefoose 6 years
My son is almost two & he had two blankets that he has to sleep with. The thing is, there are rules & there have been since day one. First thing, he only gets one blanket at a time (so no crying while one is lost or being washed). The other thing is that the blankets stay in his room & NEVER leave the house. He's great with this set up & so am I. I can't take them away because honestly I still have MY baby blanket on my bed & suck my thumb on occassion (I know, I know!!)
KimHavens KimHavens 6 years
My children have one comfort item each, for my 17yo it's a teddy bear, for my 10yo it's a bunny, and for my 3yo it's a lamb...I think that it's ok that they have these things...I had a Scooby Doo (my daughter now has my Scooby Doo...) - I got it the Christmas before my Mom and Dad separated (my sister has hers stuffed dog that she got from that same year). I don't think that there's harm in it and I am sure that my kids will have them for years to come, I know I will.
ShyloeColebank ShyloeColebank 6 years
I just weened my daughter off of the pacifier 5 nights ago, and the first couple was alot of screaming... but she is almost 3 and her two top front teeth are starting to move foreward and that is just no good!
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