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The role of transitional objects in childhood development

As an early childhood educator, you have likely seen your fair share of children who are completely attached to their teddy bear, blanket or other similar object. Common in classrooms, these security objects serve another important purpose. As children enter your facility, they begin taking on greater independence, but still require reminders of their parents. Security objects serve an important function in this transitional stage.

Typically, children latch onto security objects between the ages of eight and twelve months. The security they provide can help children fall asleep. Additionally, the items can he helpful in quelling fears or uncertainty in a range of other situations, including when children begin attending a new educational facility.

While security objects may have different characteristics, they also share some common features. Typically, they are soft to the touch and often carry the child's scent—aspects that provide a sense of security and also serve as reminders of home and their parents.

As children grow older, they develop more independence and come to no longer rely on comfort objects. However, it is important to clear up some misconceptions about these items. Comfort or transitional objects do not indicate weakness on the part of a particular child, or anything relating to the child's personality or future. They represent a normal part of development as children grow and become more confident navigating your classroom and the world on their own. 

ProSolutions Training offers online child care training, including many courses on child growth and development. To learn more about this general subject, refer to our course, "Coping with Separation Anxiety."