Why Kids Need Their Cozy Comfort Objects


Blankies, thumbs, pacifiers, and tattered old teddy bears – these objects provide comfort and a sense of security, helping children soothe themselves and cope with many everyday feelings and experiences.

When my son Kevin began to toddle about on his own stubby legs, his constant companion was a googly-eyed hand puppet made of green yarn. He played with it, he waved it, but most of all he hung on to it as though it gave him some essential comfort. And indeed, it did.

From infancy through toddlerhood and often beyond, many children become attached to comfort objects. Whether it’s a pacifier, a special blanket or a stuffed animal, these objects are a great asset for both children and parents, says Claire Lerner, a child development specialist with Zero to Three, a national nonprofit organization devoted to promoting the healthy development of infants and toddlers. “They provide comfort and a sense of security, helping children soothe themselves and cope with many everyday feelings and experiences.”


A familiar object can help when your child is separated from you or experiences anxiety or fear – even when you’re the source of his dismay, as Lerner points out, “such as when you deny him a cookie before dinner.”


Not every baby latches on to a suckable or luggable item. Nor do such attachments (or lack of them) indicate anything about a child’s personality or future, according to child development experts. The persistent use of a handy object to provide comfort is purely a matter of individual temperament. Research suggests these differences may even show up even before birth. Sonograms have shown some fetuses sucking a finger while in the womb.


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