One of the classic baby gifts is a baby blanket. The baby blanket is warm, comforting, and often something that the baby will become attached to if the baby sleeps with it regularly. Parents have different ideas as to what should be done with child attachment and safety nets. Some want to avoid the hassle that will likely come later when the child must give up the blanket while others just want to avoid the temper tantrums that come if the blanket gets lost. The solution for both of these problems and maintaining your sanity, however, are surprisingly similar.
According to the Journal of Child Psychology, child attachment for blankets develops when the child uses the blanket on a regular basis. It becomes a safety net for the child, mimicking the warmth and security of the womb. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, some parents do not want to deal with the hassle of later weaning the child off the blanket or having to deal with the trauma that results when the child can’t find the beloved blanket.
To prevent attachment, the best solution is to not allow the infant to sleep with only one blanket or stuffed animal. Instead, have multiple blankets and rotate them out. Even if the child demonstrates a preference for one over the other, it is important to keep the rotation going. The initial bouts of crying and demanding the beloved blanket or toy will be far shorter and easier for parents to deal with than the longer cycles that will come when trying to wean the child off.
To make the rotation effective, ensure that each blanket in the rotation is different. Don’t rely just on a distinction in color. Most infants attach to blankets based on the texture and the size rather than the color or the pattern. So if your baby has a velvety textured blanket, make the other blanket in the cycle a soft fluffy cotton. The distinctions in texture are sufficient to prevent the child from associating only one with warmth and security.
Permit Attachment But Avoid the Lost Blanket Dilemma
Attachment is not a bad thing in and of itself. It’s a normal part of childhood for many kids. The weaning process may happen on its own, and that is the mindset of many parents who decide that allowing the attachment to develop is not a bad thing. However, the biggest issue develops when the blanket gets lost. It’s a common event, particularly when there is more than one child involved. Somehow during a trip, the beloved blanket gets lost. The resulting screams and temper tantrums are enough to drive most parents crazy.
Fortunately, you can avoid this by a simple preparation. Once you notice your child becoming attached to one blanket, find at least two duplicates. Set these blankets aside so that you have them as spares. Some parents even go so far as to prepare for the attachment in advance. This often happens when the parents or a family member pick out a baby blanket and buy duplicate in advance. They then make sure that the baby always has the blanket when sleeping so that eventually the attachment develops.
The key for both situations is to have multiple blankets for the child. If one of the baby gifts you receive is a blanket that you think would be just what you want for your baby’s attachment, then find duplicates. If you want to prevent attachment, then get multiple blankets to put into the ration.