You may have to take a trial-and-error approach to find out which method of paci-cessation will do the trick for your little one.
A pacifier can be a life-saver for new parents early-on. Once inserted into the tiny (but unbelievably loud) mouth of a newborn, the ear-piercing cries cease, and peace is restored in the home once again—nothing short of a miracle right?
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and when your newborn transforms into a toddler right before your very eyes, and begins demanding the pacifier on a 24/7 basis, often chewing it rather than sucking on it, and producing a non-stop stream of drool, then it may be time for the binky to go bye-bye.
As many a parent has discovered, this is something that is much easier said than done.
If your toddler or (gasp) preschooler is still reluctant to give up his oral security blanket, don’t despair—there are a myriad of tricks to make relinquishing the “paci” a little easier, for both you and your big kid.
Try the Slow and Steady Approach
Just like any other addiction (physical or psychological), your child’s dependency on the pacifier may be best dealt with by taking it away a little at a time. This might make the process a bit easier, for both you and your youngster, even if it takes a little more time than some other methods.
Go Cold Turkey
The tried-and-true method of turning your pacifier-sucking toddler into an independent big kid, going cold turkey, is effective; but it takes a great deal of patience and determination on your part. Simply take the pacifier away, and don’t give it back – no matter how much your little one begs, pleads, and screams for it. Stand your ground, and in a week or two (or maybe less!), you and your child will be free from the pacifier once and for all.
Appeal to your child’s sympathies.
As long as you don’t mind telling a little white lie, appealing to your child’s sympathies might just work. Simply tell her that pacifiers are for babies, and since she’s a big kid now, she’s in the perfect position to make a charitable donation to an infant in need.
Enlist Some Supernatural Help
Parents have a long history of telling little white lies to ease their children’s fears and incorporate a little magic into their childhoods. Recently, the Binky Fairy has taken up ranks with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as a popular night-time visitor. Prepare your child beforehand for the Binky Fairy’s arrival and be sure to leave a thank-you note when you (um, I mean the Binky Fairy) snatches the pacifier while your child is sleeping.
Snip the end of the pacifier with a pair of scissors. Then, explain that the pacifier is broken and has to be thrown away (don’t give it back as it may cause your child to choke). If he or she is young enough not to demand a trip to Wal-Mart for a replacement, this method just might work.
Give advanced warning. Let your child know exactly when you plan to banish the binky. Usually, a week’s notice is enough time as long as you continue to remind your child daily of the upcoming transition. Skip this tactic if your child has a fit at the mere mention of not having the pacifier.
Don’t Offer the Pacifier
As your child gets older and no longer needs the pacifier as a soothing device, stop offering it to her. You can also limit where the pacifier can be used, such as only in the crib or bed. If you’re lucky, she may forget about it for longer and longer periods of time, effectively weaning herself.
Limit the Quantity of Pacifiers in the House
Many parents make the mistake of stocking up on pacifiers because they are so often misplaced. Once your child becomes old enough to do without it (often between 12-18 months), explain that you are no longer purchasing replacements, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Period.
Every child is different, and there’s no guaranteeing that all of these methods will work for every kid. You may have to take a trial-and-error approach to find out which method of paci-cessation will do the trick for your little one. With a little patience and determination on your part, however, your child is sure to be pacifier-free in time for Kindergarten (hopefully)!