Thanks so much for your question. I believe transitional objects can be used for a variety of reasons and to meet diverse needs. One, is the comfort object at rest/nap/bed and travel times when a physical item with all the sensory elements of home and the theoretical secure base allows the child the opportunity to feel emotionally secure. The second is the utilization of transitional objects as social connectors which I speak about in another article I wrote about Transitional Objects in The Early Childhood Classroom where these objects were used around shared goals related to constructing homes and safe spaces for the objects. I did not observe the use of the objects at that time as a distraction but more of an integrated part of the play schema that the children were constructing around the commonality of purpose in their work and play. If you would like me to send you that article it was published in Dimensions of Early Childhood Magazine.
Let me know and thanks again, Colleen Goddard, PhD