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Methods for Getting Your Child to Give up Their Pacifier

by SarahD on October 11, 2010

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How to Get Your Toddler to Give up Their Pacifier

A pacifier is a great way to curb a fussy baby’s complaints, but once your child has grown old enough, they need to give it up. What do you do when they don’t want to? There are a few innovative approaches to getting your child to give up their pacifier. If one doesn’t work, move onto the next. Once you find the right method, it could take as little as a few hours to get your child to give it up for good.

Take it Slow: For some babies, taking the pacifier away slowly will be enough. Limit it to only certain times (such as bedtime and naptime). Stop buying pacifiers and let them slowly get lost/worn. You may want to institute a day where you take it away completely, but preparing for that day could make it a lot easier.

Good Associations: Teach your child that giving up their binkie is a part of growing up. Prepare them for it ahead of time. “On your birthday, you need to give up your binkie.” If they are extremely resistant, tell them that they’ll get a big-kid toy in exchange for their binkie because they are growing up. Some children will be satisfied with that and give it up after a few nights, but those who aren’t will need a little more coaxing.

Give it to Someone Else: Your child might be more enthusiastic about giving away their pacifier if they believe it is going to be given to other babies to use. Bring them with you to a routine check-up and give them to your doctor for other babies (with your child watching). The feeling of pride they feel might make your child give up their binkie without a fuss.

Leave it for the Binky Fairy: There is a very popular book for weaning your child off of the pacifier. You can read it with your child as a way of explaining what happens when a growing boy or girl gives up their binkie. Your child may be so excited about the binkie ba-ba fairy’s visit that they’ll easily give it up. To personalize the experience, you may want to leave a letter from the ‘fairy’ to your child thanking them for giving up their binkie.

Make it Undesirable: An infamous way of making your child not want the pacifier anymore is by making it taste bad. Make sure that whatever you choose is SAFE for your baby. You could also try cutting the very tip of the pacifier off so that it no longer works the way it used to and then try to convince your child that pacifiers won’t work anymore. If you combine this with the birthday idea, you might be able to convince them that it magically no longer works past a certain age.

Let Them Give It Up: Letting them think it’s their choice to give it up will not only make some children more receptive to the idea, but it will also give you an excuse when they ask for it later. You can easily just tell them, “You threw it away, remember?” Most children will be satisfied with this response when you use this method.

Sarah Danielson writes for an early retirement planning website where you can find tips and advice on eligibility, investing, and establishing goals for your future.

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