Many parents have a love-hate relationship with their child's lovey. It's wonderful when it can help soothe your child to sleep, but it can also be a total nightmare if your child's most precious belonging is inadvertently left at the playground or covered in chocolate and needs a bath inconveniently right at nap time. In order to get the most out of your child's lovey, and to keep it from running your life, you need these lovey rules worth adopting early on that will help your baby not get too attached.
Making rules for your child's lovey, like not allowing your child to have it during mealtime and ensuring it gets washed regularly, can help your child from becoming so attached he can't let it leave his sight. A lovey, or a transitional object as it is commonly known, is designed to comfort your kids in situations that would otherwise make them nervous, scared, or uncomfortable in any way, and is oftentimes used to as a coping mechanism during bedtime.
Licensed social worker Kim West, of the Sleep Lady website explained that a positive sleep association a child creates with a lovey "can help your baby during their partial awakenings," but she cautioned that in order to be soothing to the child, the lovey has to remain the same. Picking a different teddy bear as a lovey for your child to sleep with every night probably won't have the same effect as the stuffed mouse that accompanies her through every sleep cycle.
However, it shouldn't be something your child necessarily needs to have with him every minute of the day. Transitional objects can easily take on a life of their own if your baby wants to take it to breakfast, daycare, the grocery store, or can't even make it to the next room without it. And that is why establishing lovey rules from the beginning will help you and your baby get the maximum benefit from a lovey without becoming totally dependent on it.
1. Loveys Need Baths, Just Like Kids
You're going to have to wash that lovey at some point, and it's not always going to be easy. Getting your child used to the idea that their lovey needs a bath — just like kids do! — is a good idea. If your child happens to squirt ketchup on her lovey right before nap time, this rule can help you explain why lovey needs to sit this one out. If you can choose a similar replacement for that nap or bedtime, it might help your child sleep, and who knows, even find a new go-to favorite blanket or doll.
2. No Loveys At Mealtime
Banning lovey from mealtimes will hopefully keep your child focused on their meal, but most of all, it will keep lovey it from getting covered in mashed potatoes and pureed pears, which means you've bypassed a potential laundry situation and that's a huge win.
3. No Loveys At School Or Daycare
Some daycares might allow loveys, but bringing it to school when your child is finally old enough probably won't be tolerated as well. Rather than broach the subject when your kid is four or five and is used to bringing their lovey everywhere they've gone for years. Banning lovey from daycare at the beginning can be an easier rule to start with so that they can adjsut early on. Also you'll have the support of the daycare staff in enforcing the rule.
4. Keep Lovey In The Bed
Not every parent abides by this rule, but when the Baby Sleep Site points out that a lovey should be used as a sleep transition, it makes sense. If your child carries lovey around all day, its presence can't signal to your baby or child that it is time for bed and help smooth that transition. Designating a specific spot for the lovey also reduces the likelihood that it will get lost when you're out running errands.
5. Loveys Get To Travel
Obviously, if you abide by the rule that lovey has to stay in the crib at all times, that becomes tricky when you go out of town. Although it requires more diligent attention not to lose lovey when you're on a plane, train or automobile, it might be worth it to bring that cherished item along. Your child's lovey can help him or her settle in their travel crib in an unfamiliar room, or even help them fall asleep on a plane.
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