How to Wean Your Child from Comfort Items

Early Childhood News is an online resource for parents and early childhood educators that offers helpful advice on raising and educating children from infancy through toddlerhood. Recently, in an article by contributor Eleanor Reynolds, M.A, ECN explored the controversial topic of “comfort items” such as blankets, bottles, and pacifiers, and when it may be time to remove these habits.

Many children utilize comfort items.
Many children utilize comfort items.

“Infants and toddlers often become attached to objects such as pacifiers, blankets, and bottles, especially when they are in some type of child care program. Long hours of separation from the comfort of their parents and their home can leave some infants and toddlers fearful and anxious.” These items help to reduce anxiety and cease tantrums.

Many early childhood educators are advocating for their use in the classroom, provided they are not interfering with the day’s activities. “When should we ask children to give up these treasured objects? Most children outgrow them between age two and three. If a child still depends on them at age three, begin a slow transition.” The transition can start with something as simple as moving from a bottle to a special cup or from a pacifier to a special toy. According to the article, once the transition seems “special” the security item will be less and less necessary.


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