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Top Tips for Ditching the Dummy
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It can be incredibly hard to encourage children to give up something they love, but there comes a time in all children's lives when it's time to let go of the dummy!
It's always best to try and take the dummy away sooner rather than later. A scary thought I know but research has shown us that sucking on a dummy (or pacifier to our American friends) could have an effect on speech and your child's teeth. Most dentists advise limiting the use of a dummy as your child approaches two and to stop using it altogether by the time they turn 4. Easier said than done I know!
Try to avoid letting your child speak to you with a dummy in their mouth whenever possible and keep dummies for nap times and bed times from an early age as this should help when you come to weaning your child away from it.
If your first attempt at ditching the dummy isn't successful, don't throw in the towel just yet. Here are ten tips I've put together to help you bid farewell to that dummy:
slow and steady wins the race
Try starting gradually. Keep the dummy aside for night times only. Once your child has fallen asleep, try taking the dummy away.
go cold turkey
If you're feeling brave, go cold turkey! It's sometimes easier than you might think to simply hide the dummy away but go by your own child.
the art of distraction
A good time to start to wean your child off their dummy is when they are distracted doing something they enjoy. For instance, looking at books or playing with their favourite toy.
start a reward chart
Encourage children to ease off using their dummy by making a reward chart. For each day your child goes without their dummy, they receive a gold star, and five gold stars equate to a treat for your child. Incentives could include a new soft toy, a trip to the zoo or simply their favourite meal for dinner.
some helpful reading
I'm a big fan of books that deal with all those tricky situations us parents have to deal with. There's a whole hoard of children's books on the market that can help your little one understand why it's good to wave goodbye to the dummy. A couple of great books I can recommend are 'Ben Gives up His Dummy' by Jenny Album and 'Florrie the Dummy Fairy' by Anthony J. Crosbie.
The Dummy Fairy
Why not suggest your child leave it under their pillow for the Dummy Fairy to collect while they sleep? Or rather than the Dummy Fairy, you could involve The Easter Bunny or Santa! The dummy could be left in their stocking on Christmas Eve in exchange for presents!
Sometimes, a little deviousness is called for! Snip a small hole in the top of your child's dummy meaning they'll struggle to use it and it won't be as satisfying to suck. A young toddler hopefully won't think to ask for the dummy to be replaced.
Get a bit creative and think up some magical and fun ways for your child to lose the dummy. What about tying their dummy to a helium balloon and letting go of it together? Or, handing it over as payment for a new toy?
give it away
If you have a new baby on the way, you could explain to your child that as she/he is now going to be a big sister or big brother; it would be a very grown up and kind thing to do to pass their dummy on to their younger sibling. Make it an event by helping your child wrap up their old dummy in gift wrap to present to the new arrival.
Like all things parenting related you'll need to have patience. Make sure it's the right time and don't rush it. Each child is different and will do things at their own pace.
join the conversation
Do you have any top tips for ditching the dummy? We'd love to hear from you! Join our conversation and tell us your success stories!