Grandma's Concern about Child's Security Blanket

by Roberta
(Farmington Hills)

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My grandchildren love to spend the weekend (and always complain when it's time to go home) with their grandfather and me and we love having them. However, my 11 year old granddaughter, and her 7 year old twin siblings, appear to believe they cannot sleep without their old security blankets.

I am particularly concerned about the older child who often behaves as if she were much younger than her actual age. Her "anxiety" when the blanket has been left at home appears to be an overly dramatic reaction similar to reactions I have witnessed by adult females in the home where the children live. The children have often slept at my home without the blankets when they haven't been thinking about them -- sort of like Dumbo flying without the feather.

I wish they could relegate the blankets to their own beds in their own home (as a beloved keepsake) and learn to be without them some of the time. It worries me -- when the blanket has been left at home -- that they exhibit extreme agitation, including crying, cite a belief that they cannot be okay without them and insist I drive to their home to get the blanket --which I do not do and explain, as gently as I can, that they will be okay.

Would it be appropriate for me to request the blankets remain at their home from now on? I feel it would actually be good for my grandchildren if I did this, since it appears that, rather than calming them, the blankets have become a source of anxiety.

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Mar 12, 2010
Child Security Blanket Concern
by: Laura Ramirez

Dear Roberta,

You are right to be concerned about your grandchildren's reliance on their security blankets. Children who grow up in homes where there is a lot of conflict or drama and even kids who are hypersensitive to what happens in their environment often place their sense of security in external objects. When these objects are left behind, children can become anxious, agitated and even act out.

Rather than request that they quit their reliance on the blankets cold turkey and leave them home, do a little exercise with them. Since they love spending time at your home, this should be fun for all of you. Have them hold their blankets and ask them to sit quietly, close their eyes and think about how the blanket makes them feel. Underscore their feelings of peace and security.

Next, ask them to take a deep breath and imagine that their blanket is now inside their hearts, protecting them and keeping them safe and secure. This is their inner blanket and it will always be with them to keep them safe. Underscore the sense of safety that the inner blanket provides. When you put them to bed at night, help them to imagine their inner blankets to help them fall asleep.

This will help them to internalize their sense of safety, so you can wean them off the need to use external objects. Since the inner blankets are always with them, it will empower them in a way that physical objects cannot.

Thanks for being such a caring, insightful grandma. Your grandchildren are fortunate to have you in their lives.

Hope this helps.

Laura Ramirez
Author of Keepers of the Children:
Native American Wisdom and Parenting

Raising Children to Develop their Strengths
and Lead Fulfilling and Productive Lives

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