Taking candy from a baby might be easy, but pacifiers are another story entirely. If you have a toddler or even preschooler who loves his paci, you’re in good company. Pacifier weaning is a common challenge for parents. Most parents find that pacifier weaning is easier between the ages of 12 and 24 months, when your child no longer needs the extra sucking. If you wait longer than this, the pacifier becomes a habit that will be harder to break, and if used during the day, can cause dental and speech problems. For a smooth transition, try these six easy steps to pacifier weaning.
- If your child isn’t already attached to a blanket, stuffed animal or other transitional item, begin giving him one with his pacifier. Pairing these two items months before you plan for your child to give up his paci will offer your child security when the paci is gone.
- A few weeks before Paci Departure (“Paci D”) Day, tell your child that he will be giving up his pacifier soon. Then limit your child’s pacifier use—first to in the house only, then only for sleeping, and finally only at bedtime. This will be easier on you and your child than the cold-turkey method.
- One week before Paci D Day, tell your child that when the garbage truck comes next, it will be taking away all of his pacifiers. Remind him all week whenever the pacifier is in use.
- On Paci D Day, hunt for all the pacifiers in the house. (You’ll be tempted to keep one just in case, but don’t do it. Both of you will be better off later on if there are no pacifiers in the house.) Once you have all the pacifiers, tell your child that he can say good-bye to his pacifier(s), then have him put the pacifier(s) into a bag and walk it outside to the trash or dumpster shortly before your garbage collection time. When the garbage truck comes, watch as the pacifiers get scooped up into the truck.
- Later that evening, when your child asks for the pacifier, remind him that they are all gone, that the trash men took them away. Reassure your child with some extra love and attention that he will be fine without his pacifier. If your child has a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, etc., this transitional item will help your child feel secure without his pacifier.
- Congratulate yourself on your great parenting skills.
How did you wean your child from their pacifier? We want to hear from you.