I hand my son an object, any object, and without fail, he immediately starts flipping it around to find the tag. Why is this? What makes this small attachment so incredibly desirable? I'm not the only parent whose child is captivated with toy and clothing labels. Why do babies like tags so much? We have the answer why your baby might have a tag obsession, and what you can do.
What Is With My Baby's Fixation With Tags?
Children have an amazing ability of finding magic in the mundane. Just like when you buy a child a toy and all they want to do is play with the box, tags have an enticing quality to them. What parents might not realize is that these seemingly insignificant items provide children with sensory stimulation, making them ideal play things. Here are the two surprisingly simple reasons why your baby finds tags so exciting!
Tags Give Babies Visual Stimulation
In your baby's first year of life, they'll experience dramatic periods of growth. One of these developments is their eyesight. Within a few short months, the sad scene of big, hazy blobs that they have been stuck with suddenly transforms into a crisp and colorful image that's ever changing! There are so many wonderful things to see, and as your child examines the many aspects of this world, they tend to fixate on what sticks out the most.
Let's be honest - we all do this. Our eyes gravitate towards what's different. This makes an obsession with tags quite understandable. The label drastically contrasts everything else that makes up the object in their hands. Who wouldn't want to take a closer look?
Research also shows that in the early months of life, infants examine objects by scanning their perimeter. Since manufacturers adhere tags to the edges of objects, it only makes sense that their gaze goes straight to this item.
Tags Provide Tactile Gratification
Tags are also an alluring choice because they usually have a different feel than the rest of the item. This provides your baby with both tactile and oral stimulation. In the first few months of life, mouthing is a baby's primary way of learning about the world. Tags are the perfect size for little hands to grasp onto and to draw to their mouths.
They can also serve as a tool for self-soothing. Educators note that "when a child focuses on one particular object, material, or surface this may also encourage mindfulness and be calming for young children." In other words, tags serve as a type of fidget toy for babies that can help to calm them in times of distress!
What Parents Can Do If Their Baby Is Obsessed With Tags
Now that you know that your baby's love of tags is likely just a part of their normal development, you might be wondering what you should do. It's simple:
Parents should always check that tags are secure when letting their little ones play with these clothing and toy attachments. They should also remove tags that are not made of soft materials as they could hurt a baby's gums.
Invest in Tag Toys for Babies
While an obsession with tags is totally normal, the problem is that not all tags are made of soft fabrics. The wrong materials can do a bit of harm to baby's gummy little mouth. The good news, though, is that there are actually tag toys for babies that give them the satisfaction of this attachment with no worry.
- Taggies: In true form and fashion, two moms noticed this same fascination with tags in their children and decided to craft is a toy line that makes the most of this small feature. Aptly named "Taggies," their products include baby tag blankets, teether toys, soft books, stuffed animals, and play mats that all feature edges lined with soft, satin tags.
- Baby Jack & Company: Baby Jack & Company also makes blankets and toys that are adorned in these sensory accessories! No matter which brand you choose, these colorful ribbons and loops are quite mesmerizing to discerning little eyes and mouths, making them the perfect choice for little ones whose favorite toy is a tag!
Know It Takes Time for Tag Obsession to Go Away
Over time, your baby's fixation with this feature will disappear and new things will trigger their attention. This is all a part of regular development. However, it's important for parents to remember that this can take time.
Many children will continue to rub the tag portion of their lovies and blankets into their toddler years when they are experiencing anxiety or stress.
Playing With Tags Is a Normal Part of Development
Not all babies and toddlers will play with tags, but if they do, it's a normal fascination. If you simply make sure there's no safety concern with the tags, invest in a few tag toys to help them explore, and avoid reacting negatively if they return to tags in moments of stress as they grow, you'll be doing all you need to do about your baby's tag fixation.