Many young children are strongly attached to a transitional object, commonly known as a lovey. A lovey may be a blanket, doll, stuffed animal, or something else entirely (I know one child who would not go anywhere without a beloved rock), that provides comfort and helps them cope with changes such as daytime to nighttime or home to daycare.
A trip to a vacation destination like Walt Disney World seems like a logical place to bring a lovey. It’s an unfamiliar environment rife with new stimuli, of course you’d want your child to have his comfort item. But there are cons as well as pros to taking your child’s lovey along for the ride.
- The child has something familiar to ease them into sleep, whether in a hotel room or while napping in a stroller.
- The child has something familiar to comfort them during other challenge situations such as meeting costumed characters (BIG mice), hearing the LOUD bangs of fireworks, or being in the spooky cave on the Jungle Cruise attraction.
- You will inevitably take lots of photos on your WDW vacation. If the lovey is in the pictures, you will have great documentation of your child with his favorite toy. That may be a memory you want to hold onto.
- The potential for losing the lovey is high. Every change of venue, from airport to hotel to bus to stroller to theme park ride to restaurants, and so on, is an opportunity for something like a lovey to go astray. And unlike at home, when backtracking a well-known route might result in a happy reunion, the odds of recovery are less likely when you’re bopping around a massive theme park.
- YOU may be so worried about losing the lovey that you have difficulty engaging with things in the park. And when I say YOU, I mean my husband who, during one trip, may have checked more on the location of our child’s lovey than he did on our child herself.
- The potential for damage to the lovey is high. Can the lovey survive an inadvertent dunk in the hotel pool or a dousing with spilled chocolate ice cream? (I mean this both from a structural integrity standpoint and from the child’s emotional well-being standpoint.)
- The child may be too distracted by the lovey to engage with things in the parks. Some children cling so tightly to their lovely that they are not free to explore new environments.
- EVERY photo of your kid will have that darn lovey in it. The rattier and nastier the object becomes, the more the child will insist that it be in the photos.
If you decide, for whatever reason, not to bring the lovey on your trip, you should practice at home things like going new environments or going to sleep without it.
If you do decide to bring the lovey on your vacation, there are several things you can do to help the trip run smoothly.
First, find a way to label the lovely with your cell number or email address. Depending on what the lovey is, this might mean sewing or pinning a small fabric label onto it or attaching something like a luggage tag. If the lovey does get lost, an “ID bracelet” will go a long way toward helping you get it back. Whatever strategy you choose, make sure that you’re not introducing a choking hazard.
Second, consider whether you can limit the lovey’s exposure to the outside world by leaving it in the hotel room during the day. A word of caution though, my family’s largest lovey-related vacation disaster happened when we went the cautious route and left Pinkie, our daughter’s tiny pink bunny, “safely” on a bed in our hotel room. While changing the sheets, a mousekeeper accidentally scooped up Pinkie with the linens and sent her our with the wash. After nine days and dozens of phone calls, she was finally located in a dryer lint trap at Disney Central laundry, missing an ear and slightly matted, but otherwise fine. Our tale has a happy ending, Disney mailed Pinkie back to us with a sweet note from Cinderella about the lovey’s adventures, along with a pink tiara and sunglasses, but those nine days without her were an emotional roller coaster along the lines of Expedition Everest. Moral of the story: if you plan to leave a lovey in your hotel room, place it in a drawer or even the hotel safe, not tucked into a bed.
Have you brought your child’s lovey with you on vacation? Did you label it in any way? Have you ever lost a lovey on vacation? Give us your tips.