Our girls have both had dummies/pacifiers. Originally a hater of them, I was converted. I learnt that they have considerable benefits and aren’t just an unsightly way of keeping a whinging baby quiet (although they certainly do that too).They soon became a vital part of our family.
The problem is, like any comforter, they soon become a habit and therefore difficult to get rid of. There are also some concerns that prolonged dummy use can affect/delay children’s speech. I talk more about the benefits and potential issues with dummies plus our families love/hate relationship with them in a recent post How WE kicked our dummy habit.
This post is to provide people currently fighting a dummy battle with their toddler, a list of 7 quick and easy steps that REALLY work!
- Plant the seed. Talk about The Dummy Fairy for a few months. Explain the consequences of giving up the dummy clearly (i.e. it’s forever).Re-iterate it’s their choice, no pressure to do it. Be patient, it can take a few weeks/months. My daughter was 2 years and 9 months old when we did this. I made sure she was old enough to really understand who The Dummy Fairy was and what the implications were.
- Get a box and leave it out somewhere easy for them to access. Explain that if they would like to receive a present from The Dummy Fairy they will need to place the dummy/dummies in it. I chose to let my daughter do it at her own pace so not all of them went in at once.
- When they decide they are ready to give one or all of the dummies up make it exciting for them by asking what present they might like and then if they think The Dummy Fairy has been. Wrap up the presents and place them in the box with a note or card from The Dummy Fairy to make it as real as possible.
- If they know how many dummies they have wait until they have offered them all up to The Dummy Fairy (or lost them). If you get desperate and want to shimmy things along a bit you can be evil mummy like me and cut holes in them so they no longer work.
- If they have a sibling with a dummy I would suggest trying to remove that one too, at least from sight. Get them joining in with giving up their dummies and receiving presents.
- Once all the dummies are gone be aware they will continually ask for them. Be consistent in your response and do not falter. Get your partner, kindy, family members on board. Within a few days they will have almost stopped asking.
- Be aware that it may be harder for them to fall asleep as they have used the dummy as their comforter for most of their little lives. Be patient, understanding and help them get to sleep by staying with them a bit longer, more cuddles etc. They are grieving for the loss of their comforter. However, try to maintain their sleep routine as much as possible and be firmer as the day’s progress so they don’t become dependent on you to get them to sleep.
It will be so much easier than you ever anticipated, I promise!