Everybody knows that removing pacifiers from the life of your child is like pulling teeth or even worse, a total nightmare! It is a process that needs good planning and patience.
If your child is between 2 to 3, you have got time, don’t fret. We can take our time to make him/ her loose the habit. Unfortunately, after 4 years of age, the habit becomes very hard wired and deeply ingrained, stopping it becomes even harder, plus the damage can be seen already on the teeth!
If you would like to understand more about the needs of your child with regards to the pacifier, here is part 1 of this blog post:
Here are a few tried and true tips shared from other mommies that have been finally managed it successfully.
Tip No. 1: Figure it all out!
Before you do anything rash….just wait…breathe….take it easy…and just try to understand what is it your child needs from the pacifier. How ingrained is the habit? What’s the intensity of the habit! Is it 24/7, is it only sometimes during the day, is there anything in particular that reminds the child of the habit? Understanding the child’s needs is super important to dictate the pace of operation “Goodbye Paccy”.
Tip No. 2: Take it away early
The sooner the better if your child is still young. It is much easier to take something from a newborn than from a toddler. Your baby will be too young to remember even having it.
Tip No. 3: Sabotage it
You can start by cutting small tiny holes in it. They wont show visibly but the habit wont be as pleasurable as before. Progressively keep creating holes in it. Then actually start cutting bits and pieces off until it is no longer functional. This process may take one to two weeks, but is absolutely golden! Just make sure you are not caught!
Tip No 4: Do a movie!
I was inspired by an awesome mother with this tip. She cut the tip of the pacifier off and placed loose tea powder inside and told her little 2 year old boy that “ants invaded the paccy”. He didn’t want it ever again!
You can check the rest of her blogs on mommy hood @www.nazmira.com
Tip No 5: Add Bitter Taste
If your child is too attached to his paccy and not ready for a conversation yet, make it taste bad. Ask his physician or dentist for a safe bad-tasting product. Your child will go cold turkey in a short time.
Tip No. 6: Teamwork with Your Child
For older children, talk about the adverse effects of pacifiers on teeth with the help of his dentist if possible. Include pacifier weaning as a part of his plan to be a “big boy/big girl”. Involve him/her in choosing the ways to do this. Praise him/her for not using a pacifier, instead of scolding or punishing. Plan a big party and awesome rewards if the habit was stopped. Heck go full out and even do a ceremony to say goodbye in style!
Tip No. 7: Cater to the original Cause
Focus on solving the root of the problem (it may be hunger, tiredness, irritation or anxiety). Your child may need his paccy because he/she feels insecure or needs comfort to sleep. If not all of the above, maybe it’s just sheer habit and yes…addiction! Focus on replacing this addiction with something new that might interest him/her so that the pacifier is not central attention anymore!
Remember if you were addicted to your coffee and someone just took that away from you: how would you feel! A child needs a safe replacement for the pacifier for things to go smooth sailing.
Tip No. 8: Use motivational charts
Children are visual creatures. Plus they love rewards so much. Who doesn’t really.
Here is a link to “Stop the Pacifier Chart”.
My advice is to negotiate with the child some lucrative rewards, and don’t forget the daily positive reinforcing compliments. Its best to negotiate gifts after 3 days, followed by a week and so on, so the child does feel his efforts to stop sucking his thumb will pay off soon.
Tip no. 9: Gentle and Nice
Let us stop it in the gentlest non-traumatizing way ever. Wouldn’t it be best for the choice to be from the child to stop the pacifier? The child doesn’t have a sense of loss, on the contrary a sense of accomplishment and pride! To achieve that, it’s best to focus on the positive picture, and always avoid criticizing or belittling the child. Compliment the positive behavior and ignore the negative, while always supporting the child to reach the goal.
Tip no. 10: Seek Help from the Expert
Last but not least, if you have tried everything and nothing worked out, you can ask a dentist, pediatrician or psychologist for help. Don’t be discouraged, it is a mighty addiction and sometimes children may need more support from health care professionals to kick this habit good bye.
Hope this helps. Eager to hear about your opinions and your own experience with your child.
God bless and stay in touch.
Here are a few videos about the topic:
Dr. Yasmin Kottait
DDS, HDD, MFDS Ed, Dip-Hyp CBT, MSc, IBCCES Autism
A pediatric dentist with a special mission: spreading smiles to children wherever she goes.
Currently working in MyPediaClinic in Dubai Health Care City