If you have kids, chances are at least one of them is/was a lovey-toting toddler. Loveys are security objects like blankies or stuffed animals that a child is very attached to and wants to take everywhere. I've even seen a child with a burp cloth as his lovey and he put it in his mouth whenever he needed to feel a little more secure!
Loveys are great soothers for kids but can cause trouble for parents.
Here I've listed common lovey issues I've personally encountered with my kids and solutions that made things easier:
Problem #1: The Lovey needs to be washed or gets lost
Normal result: Child will freak out until lovey is returned.
Solution: Have multiples of the lovey. Multiples must be introduced very early and rotated in frequently with the original lovey or your child will sniff out the duplicate! My kids like those waffle-weave blankets from Target, so they have 3 or 4 each. Pink for my daughter and blue for the boys. My daughter did try the trick of getting attached to carrying all 3 blankets at once, but I was somehow able to always keep a blankie washed and present when needed.
Problem #2: The Lovey has to be carried everywhere.
Normal result: It is cumbersome because the parent is always keeping up with the treasured item, as in "Here Mommy, hold this while I go play on the playground!" Also, the lovey gets super dirty and quickly worn out being literally drug around everywhere.
Solution: Enter the kid backpack. I got one of these for my daughter and it works great. She can put whatever she wants in that backpack and bring it wherever she wants, as long as the bag can close and she can carry it by herself at all times! Below is my daughter's backpack (with monogrammed name cloned out) and as usual it is stuffed full of her entourage (which in recent weeks has grown to include exactly 9 small stuffed creatures -- there's the mama & baby kitties, the penguin, the bear, the bunny, the doggie, 2 monkeys, and a little doll). All fine with me as long as they fit in the bag and she carries it!
Alternative Solution to Problem #2: Don't allow the lovey outside the home or child's bed. From the beginning make it only something they can have at home or even more specifically in their bed. This worked great with my oldest child. He loved his blankies for sleeping but when he got up I'd insist that it stay in the bed and that is just the way it was. Now my parenting resolve on this issue got harder with his little sister, because she was a 2nd child and thus forced to nap on the go sometimes due to carting big brother around. So, I had a hard time establishing the line between car seat, bed, playground, friend's house, church, etc.!!!
Problem #3: Preschool frowns on children bringing in toys and blankies from home.
Normal Result: You worry for the entire summer about how you are going to peel your wailing child away from his or her lovey to send them into the classroom. You begin devising a plan about why your child's situation is really special and they deserve an exception to the "leave the stuff from home outside the classroom" rule.
Solution: Again, enter the backpack. This worked wonders for my security item(s) attached little girl. She was allowed to bring blankie into her 2 year old Mother's Day out, but once she was to begin 3 year old preschool she was supposed to leave items from home outside the classroom on a spot marked with her name. I got her the backpack shortly before school started and made a huge deal about it being the special place where her blankie and animals could wait for her. She took to the whole deal with excitement and without a tear!!! I think the fact that the loveys are hidden from view inside the backpack makes them easier to leave behind outside the classroom.
Problem #4: Child is getting attached to a lovey that is not a good one (like one that you cannot find a duplicate of or one that is just too cumbersome to deal with). For example, a few months ago I noticed my toddler began getting attached to a stuffed snake he found in his brother's room that his big brother had long forgotten about.
Normal Result: You allow attachment to form and are stuck with the inconvient lovey for the next 2 years!
Solution: Okay, this will put me down into the worst mother hall of fame, but I hid the snake! Come on, I couldn't be forced to travel everywhere with that and anyway, even the 2 year-old crowd was sure to make fun of my son's snake scarf! I caught the bond so early that my son only asked a couple times about the snake, "Shake?" (that's toddler for snake), and was not at all upset that he couldn't find it!
Final Note: Loveys can be great comfort for kids and a wonderful alternative to pacifiers or thumb-sucking which in older toddlers can be more harmful soothers. My youngest actually didn't have a lovey when he was 13 months old and I wanted to take away his pacifier, so I introduced a small, soft, blankie lovey by giving it to him to hold everytime we cuddled right before I tucked him into bed. It worked and he still wants to clutch one now, 9 months later whenever he's going to sleep.
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P.S. The answer to my little quiz on yesterday's post is absolutely B!