Why your kid likes to sleep with so much stuff — even the kitchen sink
Maryn, 2, of Brooklyn, curls up each night with her blankie — plus four more blankets, ten stuffed animals, a cat-shaped pillow, a calendar, flash cards, a piece of a toy train, a family photo album, several books, and a sippy cup filled with water. “There sure isn’t a lot of room left for her in there,” says her mom, Kristen Nowadly.
It’s easy to understand why your child might want to sleep with a lovey. But what gives, when she crams her bed full of random (and surprisingly non-cuddly) stuff? Part of the appeal is that it comforts her by re-creating the cozy, close feeling of your womb, says Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Playful Parenting. And then there’s the fact that toddlers, who’ve only just graduated from peekaboo, are still trying to grasp the idea of object permanence. “Your child doesn’t have a strong sense that familiar objects are still there when she can’t see them,” says Cohen. “Taking them to bed with her reassures her that they’re around even while she sleeps.”
Unless the thing your child wants to sleep with is a safety risk (say, it’s rough or has sharp edges), indulge her weird taste. By the time most kids turn 3 or so, they become more discriminating about their sleeping buddies — and leave the clutter for the rest of the house.