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How to Wean Your Child Off the Security Blanket and Other Comfort Objects

The security blanket, bottles, pacifiers, cuddle toys, teddy bears, stuffed animals and night lights can provide your child with a sense of security, particularly at bed time. While there is much attention paid to children who indulge in such things, it is important to remember that adults, too, have their forms of security blankets. At a certain age, however, it is a good idea to confront weaning your child from a dependency that could serve to embarrass and thus inhibit him from being socially active.

Reasons for Security Objects

It is estimated that 60 percent of young, middle-class children in the Western world use blankets, stuffed toys and pillows to soothe themselves during times of discomfort and bed time. Understand that toddlers and younger children use objects to help make the transition to independence from dependence. Life is an adventure for them, and sometimes it is irrational fears that cause them to have a blanket, bottle or stuffed animal with them most of the time.

Pacifiers and Bottles

Many children get attached to pacifiers and bottles for comfort in their early lives. Once a child reaches the toddler years, understanding why he is using the pacifier and bottle can lead to a path of weaning. For example, when a child is fussy, rather than reach for a pacifier or bottle, try offering something to drink in a cute cup that he picks out in a store.

Blankets and Stuffed Animals

To wean an older child from a security blanket or stuffed animal, start on a gradient scale. Gradually offer your child new and interesting things to do. For example, turn his attention toward an activity that is fun, such as coloring, reading or playing a game. Interact with him more.

Repetition and Schedule

There will be times when the child really wants his security item and nothing else will do. Try to address the issue and realize that if you can avoid stressful incidents, the toy or blanket won't be needed so much. If you put your child down for a nap regularly, he can have the toy at bed time rather than when out in public.


Using nightlights can be an effective tool in soothing an anxious child who has a tendency toward object attachment. Sometimes, there is fear associated with going to bed at night in the dark, making him want to cling to something. For a small child, being alone in the dark can be very traumatic. A soft night light can go a long way toward a happily adjusted child and is well worth the investment.

Every child has his own developmental time line. Don't try to force the issue. Take the time to understand why the child needs the object and address the underlying issue. Maybe the child has separation anxiety and uses the item for comfort. Let him have the object for as long as he needs it for his own comfort and your sanity.

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