Updated: Sep 9, 2020
If you’re reading this, chances are you have some questions around if, when, and how to introduce a security object to your little one, or if it’s even a good idea. Some parents wonder if it will disrupt sleep training efforts or if it will make it difficult for your child to self soothe on their own. Good news — when your child is old enough to have a security object, there’s no need to avoid a lovey.
When your child is ready (and when it’s safe) to introduce a security object, it may actually help improve any sleep training you’re currently doing or plan to do in the future.
Here’s what you need to know about the importance of a security object as well as when and how to go about introducing one.
The Importance of Security Objects For Children
As your baby gets older and hits more and more developmental milestones, it’s normal to start to notice many changes, including separation anxiety and sleep regressions, which is where a security object can be very helpful — they may help your little one feel more secure.
These security objects, often referred to as a lovey, are meant to be soothing, and some find loveys to be a total game-changer when it comes to helping a child self soothe.
The lovey you choose will also depend on your child’s preference. While some little ones may prefer a small stuffed animal, others may prefer a lovey style blanket.
Some children even prefer security objects like teethers or soft baby books, so finding what your child bonds to and finds comfort with is key.
How to Introduce a Lovey
#1 Make Sure it’s Safe & Age Appropriate: First, and foremost, it’s important to make sure that the lovey is safe and age-appropriate. It’s recommended that children don’t sleep with any objects in their crib until they are 12 months of age.
When your child is ready to have a lovey, you also want to make sure that whatever the security object is, it doesn’t have any small pieces that could be a choking hazard. You’ll also want to make sure that the lovey can’t be used as a step that your child can use to climb out of the crib.
If you have questions about what’s age-appropriate and safe, always run it past your child’s pediatrician first.
#2 Find Something Your Child Likes
As you try out different security objects, tune into what your child really connects and bonds with! Every child will have a different preference. You can even place a few options in their crib and let them choose with time. Typically they will favor one item.
#3 Incorporate The Security Object Into Your Daytime Play Routine
When first introducing a security object, it may be helpful to introduce it during daytime play when you are transitioning to a nap or the evening routine. It can be used as an object that your child will not only bond to, but also associate with sleep.
#4 Incorporate The Lovey Into The Bedtime Routine
If you already have an established bedtime routine, it’s a great time to start incorporating this security object. Bring the lovey into the before-bed storytime! I introduced one to my youngest child by making his lamb (AKA Lambie) sing Baby Shark each night before bedtime, he would laugh and laugh and grab it tight.
Note that while some parents find loveys to be extremely helpful, not all children need one, and some won’t even take to a security object at all. It all comes down to really seeing what works best for you and your child.
When to Introduce a Lovie
It’s also important to note that The American Academy of Pediatrics states that infants under the age of one should not have any objects in their crib. You can do a slow introduction of one around 10 months by allowing monitored playtime with it, or allow them to hold during a nursing session or nap / bedtime routine, but do not allow your little one to sleep with it until they reach the 1 year birth date. If you have any questions about what is appropriate for your child to sleep with and when always speak with your child’s pediatrician or you can reach out to me.
Loveys Can Be Game-Changing Tools For Better Sleep
If your child is old enough to use a lovey and is struggling with sleep regressions or even separation anxiety, a lovey may be a great tool. It may help provide your little one with a comfort item that helps them feel secure.
Still have questions about loveys and sleep? Drop your questions below in the comments section, or email me to schedule a FREE 30 minute discovery call!