Your child is going through a transition stage. Children at this realise that they are different from their parents and this can become a source of anxiety for the child. Infants are not able to distinguish themselves from their mothers and see the whole world as one blob but with time as they grow, the reality dawns on them and they look for an object of comfort, something that can replace their parent figure with in their absence. They are drawn to the object to get the sense of security that they get from their parents.
In most of the cases the object that gets this special treatment from your child is a toy!
What you need to know
The need for the transition object or security blanket is the most during the age of 2 years. This may also be the time when your child starts preschool and this increases the anxiety levels. From the development point of view they are becoming their own person and the transition object is just to ease the separation anxiety. The transition object can be anything that your child holds on to the most. It can be a stuffed toy, a soft doll, a soft blanket, a pillow or even a soft piece of cloth. Children need the sense of security and assurance that they discover in a familiar object.
Importance of the transition object
Your child will have a huge meltdown or throw a massive fit if their special love is taken away from them or tampered with. They would love to drag on their dirty, smelly transition object and would resist even getting it washed. As parents you will have to tolerate this stage as this sense of security is really important for the child. You can in the meantime show all your love and affection with hugs and kisses.