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Blankets and Bears?

As every parent has likely encountered at some point, toddlers love security items. Most kids seem to have something that makes them feel safe. Maybe it's a pacifier, a blanket, or a favorite bear. And, while most kids give up these security items by the time they reach the 6-9 age group, there are still quite a few who tote these items around longer. So, just how long is it okay for your child to have a security item?

How long your child hangs on to her security item is really a matter her personality, and why she needs the item(s). If you have a child that feels like she can't go to school without a blanket in tow, it could certainly be a problem. But if your child wants her favorite stuffed animal in bed with her at night, it's really nothing to worry about.

If you have a child in elementary school that is still hanging on tightly to security items, consider the following tips:

  • Discuss why it is that she feels she needs the item. Perhaps she is scared of something. If so, that issue needs to be addressed.
  • Set rules about when it's appropriate to have her security item. Taking a favorite blanket or doll to school, for example, is not going to work. Explain that there are some places where it is not okay to have these items.
  • If it is seems harmless and isn't causing a disruption, then don't make a big deal out of it. This is something your child will likely grow out of within a couple of years.
  • If you really want to nix the habit, a try creating a behavior chart to reward going without the security item. Each time your child leaves home without it, give her a checkmark, and then give her a reward after earning a certain amount of marks.

Root security items are used by children to help them feel comfortable. While there is nothing inherently wrong with them, they can become a bit of an issue if your child clings to them or refuses to follow rules about where they can be used. In this case, it may be best to find out what is causing the child to feel she need the item and address the problem at the source.