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Toddler's Fixation with a Toy

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Question

Dear Dr. Laura,
I'd like some advice on how to handle this situation. My son is 2 weeks away from being 2 and has just developed an attachment to a toy broom. He will not let go of it unless he's asleep. It's to the point where to get him dressed he switches hands so I can put is coat on. It's become bit of a safety issue since he runs with it and falls, hits me with it while nursing (not on purpose, just awkwardness), swings it around when he's bored, etc. I've tried hiding it at nap time after he's fallen asleep but he wakes up looking for it immediately. When he can't find it he gets very sad so I give it back to him. This is the first time he's ever shown such an attachment to an item so I want to handle it delicately. Any ideas? I've tried to also give him a stuffed animal when I give him back the broom or when we also leave the house in hopes that he'll get attached to that, but so far no luck. Thanks!

Answer

I guess it depends on how much of a safety issue you think this actually is. You can certainly set limits on where the broom is used. He will cry, and you will empathize with how much he loves the broom and how much he wants it, but repeat that the broom is only for use outside (for instance.) if you go this route, think of how you would respond if his fixation were to a large knife. You would empathize, but you would set a limit.

On the other hand, you might decide that this is no big deal in the larger scheme of things, and let this fixation run its course.

Good luck!
Dr. Laura

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