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Q&A:
Is it appropriate for my 2-year-old to take her stuffed animal to preschool?

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Question


Children love to have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to sleep with, take in the car, or even cart around on the playground.

Answer


Children love to have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to sleep with, take in the car, or even cart around on the playground. This very special "companion" is a transitional object that makes them feel secure. Transitional objects are especially coveted for occasions like nap time when the child is going to be alone in her room as she drifts to sleep—Mommy may be there for awhile, but eventually she leaves. Your daughter also wakes up on her own, so it's probably really important to have her stuffed animal as she moves from sleep to wakefulness. All of this is to say that your daughter wants her stuffed animal around when you can't be present. As your daughter internalizes you, she'll come to learn that you'll return even though she can't see you. At this time her stuffed animal will become less important.

Starting preschool is a big step for a child and her family. It is absolutely fine for you to let your daughter bring her favorite stuffed animal with her as she makes this transition. Many schools provide cubbies or little shelves for students where stuffed animals can stay until nap time. Responding to a structured classroom environment also makes children tired. The stuffed animal will help your daughter get the rest she needs after engaging in the life of the classroom.



A couple points to keep in mind. First, take precautions so your daughter doesn't lose her stuffed animal. These special comforts are irreplaceable. To avoid a potentially upsetting loss, identify a place in the classroom (like the cubby) where the stuffed animal can stay until needed. The second point concerns what your daughter will learn from her peers. If she notices that other children don't bring their stuffed animals along for nap time, your daughter may eventually decide that hers can stay at home, eagerly awaiting her return.



Finally, even adults do things to feel secure. We have rituals, special mementos, and superstitions that are designed to help us during times of transition. Your daughter having her stuffed animal with her only means that two are going to preschool instead of one.

 
 
 
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