Often times when children are observed they are carrying something around with them, and at times they are even talking to and playing with that item. With further observation of the same child, it may be noted that he or she is transporting that object with them to multiple places, throughout the day over a span of time. Their toy is likely more than just a toy; they are likely to be carrying what is called a Transitional Object.
Transitional objects are possessions that are meaningful to a child and help them to feel comfortable and secure. Transitional Objects can be helpful for young children when entering a situation or environment that is either unfamiliar or challenging. Transitional Objects can be used to help a child have a more seamless time separating from a caregiver. Oftentimes, Transitional Objects are used when going to school for the first time, when starting various groups or activities, when vacationing, and when playing in a new friend’s home. While it is common that a young child is seen with a Transitional Object, older children can also reap the benefits of a Transitional Object—if starting a new school, attending overnight camp, or when participating in a potentially stressful activity such as a an important ball game or singing in a choral concert.
Furthermore, Transitional Objects will also benefit a child who is receiving any type of therapy. Therapy is often challenging and it and takes a child out of his or her comfort-zone. The support and comfort that come with carrying their Transitional Object to therapy can help a child reach new goals and attempt new tasks. Children can talk about their beloved Transitional Object with their therapist, which allows them to open up and feel a heightened level of comfort and confidence in therapy.
Transitional objects can be blankets from early infancy, dolls, action figures, or a picture of family members or from a special vacation /event. Other common Transitional Objects are “lucky” coins, a rabbit foot, or anything that has special or “lucky” sentiment. A Transitional Object can be anything that is small and light enough to be carried around, the items listed above are merely just examples and can be used to provide a young child with if they do not already have something considered to them as a Transitional Object.