Tips on weaning your child form their dummy, including some different approaches, can reduce stress for both parents and kids whilst trying to ditch the dummy.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The Dummy Fairy
This one has been around for a long time. Explain to your child that big boys and girls no longer need dummies and they can leave them out for the dummy fairy to collect. She will then pass them on to babies that do need them.
You and your child can pop the dummy under a tree or bush in your garden or even in your letterbox overnight. Some families even tied it to a tree. Once your child is asleep, take the dummy and leave behind (if you can) some glitter (fairy dust) and a small gift or certificate from the dummy fairy.
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If you don’t want any pretence simply talk to your child about being a big girl (or boy) and swap out the dummy (or dummies) for a gift. Choose what you are prepared to “pay” beforehand, (work out what your child’s “currency” is). Then buy the gift together and put the dummy in the bin together – say goodbye. If your child gets upset at bedtime, remind them of their new toy. It might take a few nights, but you will get there.
If you have a local toy store, you could let them in on your plan beforehand. Then take your child in and let them “pay” with the old dummies.
Cut Off The Tip
You can start by just doing a pin prick which will reduce the suction, then make it bigger over time. Or just cut off the tip. If you cut off the tip, your child will find they cannot suck it the same. Explain that it is broken and throw it in the bin together. If you have several dummies, do it one by one over a few days.
You can make it taste bad with safe, edible products like lemon juice or vinegar.
Give Them To A Baby Who Needs Them
If you have a friend with a baby, gather up the dummies with your child, put them in a box with a ribbon and “gift” them to the new baby. Explain to the new mother beforehand you do not expect her to use the dummies, she needs to throw them away. This way you can explain to your child that dummies are for babies and that the baby needs it more than them as they are a big kid now.
Easter / Christmas
Easter and Christmas are a great time to rid your home of dummies. You can ask your child to leave their dummy out for Santa or the Easter Bunny to collect. Wrap them up together and leave with a note. Then a letter from Santa, (or the Easter Bunny) and a gift replaces it the next day.
Cold Turkey / Lose it
Some parents simply throw away the dummies and go cold turkey. A common way is to say it is lost. Get your child to help you look for it for a little while, then suggest you stop and do something else and look for it later. Distraction is the key here. If you decide to go cold turkey, be sure to collect all dummies around the house – the last thing you need is your little one finding a pacifier the week after she gave it up and going back to square one
Only allow at a set time and places
You can begin limiting the places your child is allowed their dummy. So maybe no longer in the car or when going out, but just at nap time and bed time. Then after a few weeks, say it is time to give up at night. Or, let your child use the pacifier for short periods of time if you feel he particularly needs it, and gradually shorten the frequency and length of time the dummy is used.
You've probably seen those fun Easter activities where kids plant jelly beans and wake up to find lollipops sticking out of the garden. Use the same concept to "grow" something cool by burying the dummy and having something else pop up in its place.
Create a sticker chart and offer a large reward of the child's choosing when the dummy is completely gone. The little victories help empower your child and kids are motivated by things they want
Timing is key
Whether you decide to gradually wean or go cold turkey, make sure to time it right. Try not to take away the dummy during life changes, major transitions or travelling. A dummy may be a comfort if there is a new baby in the house, or if your child is unwell or travelling to a strange place. Pick a time when everyone is healthy and life is petty routine.
Once you’ve made the plan to ditch the pacifier, make sure all caregivers are on board and stick with it!