Your child’s pacifier was a solace during those early newborn days, but many kids learn to walk, run, and talk while still depending on a binky. How can you break your child of this habit, so that her pacifier doesn’t come with her to kindergarten?
This method is highly effective, but may cause some tears and a few difficult nights in the short-term. We know a few parents who have simply dumped every pacifier in the house into the garbage. We even heard about one frustrated mom who hurled her daughter’s binky off the back deck, into the woods behind their house, and told her 3 year old that her pacifier was “playing with the squirrels and raccoons”. If you choose this method, prepare for your child to demand her pacifier for a day or two, especially at naptime and bedtime. After a few tough days however, you can expect the complaints to stop, and for your child to be pacifier-free.
Nip it in the Bud
Some parents use the pacifier to get through those challenging newborn months, but then take it away when their child is several months old, so that a long-term habit never forms. The downside? You and your child will need to find other methods of soothing. The upside? Finding a variety of methods of soothing oneself can be healthy for young children.
One Step at a Time
When you use this method, you’ll slowly limit the use of the binky. First, try offering it only at naptime and bedtime. Then, only at naptime. Eventually, your child will become accustomed to not using his binky, and tossing it altogether won’t seem like a dramatic move.
Gross Your Kid Out
I’m sure you’ve heard advice from grandparents to cover your child’s pacifier, or thumb, in cayenne pepper or vinegar to keep her from sucking on it. Try something a little less drastic, and less likely to make your child gag, like minty toothpaste. Your child may not enjoy the taste, but won’t complain that her mouth is burning. Apply a thin layer of toothpaste to each of her pacifiers, and when she wonders why they taste funny, simply shrug it off. Eventually, she won’t enjoy the pacifier as much!
Make a Ceremony of It
Is a big occasion coming up, like a birthday, or a new classroom at daycare or preschool? Celebrate by throwing a little going away party for your child’s pacifiers. Explain that your child is now a big boy or girl, and ask him to say goodbye to his pacifiers. One family we know even boxed them up and the parents pretended to mail them to little babies who needed them.
Is your child still stuck with a pacifier? Or has she kicked the habit? How did you break the dependency? Let us know in the comment section!