Giving your toddler’s dummy the heave – ho !
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Dummies, bottles, teddy bears, soothers and cuddly toys, just like an old blanket, are really all about feeling a bit unsure in a busy world. My first piece of advice is to relax as children are so sensitive and are good at picking up your vibes. If you are relaxed then your child feels more relaxed and safe. So begin by looking at new ways to help your child feel more secure. Perhaps offer them their favourite toy instead of their dummy.
Some children like dummies when they’re tired or anxious and some children suck their thumbs. It’s about gently weaning your toddler off these things by perhaps ‘losing’ it occasionally or gradually limiting its use to bedtimes.
If your child kicks up a fuss breathe slowly and deeply and relax and just imagine a time sometime in the future when they don’t have it and keep visualising that time. All children grow out of it eventually. Have you ever seen a 13-year-old with one?
Lots of parents have tried giving the dummy to Santa, The Easter Bunny or The Tooth Fairy and some exchange it for a really lovely special treat. One of my favourites is for the Dummy Fairy to come into your child’s bedroom while they are sleeping and for them to leave a magic bag in their room. Then your child can get up and put all the dummies into the bag and the Dummy Fairy can come back the next night and collect them all, replacing them with magical toys and sprinkling glitter everywhere. This takes you away from begging, pleading, bribing and harsh words and makes the whole experience a more relaxed, positive experience towards growing up.
Try taking the dummy away S-L-O-W-L-Y and gradually over a two week period weaning your little one off it by letting them have it just at night time or only during naps or whatever feels more natural to you. It’s about breaking the habit of associating the dummy to sleep, anxiety or stress and being consistent.
Read books about it
Read and chat about the book I want my dummy by Tony Ross as lots of parents I have worked with find that their children really relate to the stubborn little princess in the story who didn’t want to lose her dummy but eventually realised she could live without it.” Another popular one is The last noo-noo by Jill Murphy.
Saying goodbye to a dummy can be quite hard and parents all over the world have there own interesting and quirky ways to get their little ones to get rid of them.
In Denmark in parks there are trees where children can hang their dummies or pacifiers from branches as a ceremonial way to say goodbye – so why not make your own Dummy Tree in your garden for fun and let this mark the occasion in a special, unique and unusual way.
Here is a helpful article all about dummies, comforters and thumb sucking.
If you relax, take your time and are consistent this transition needn’t be stressful for anyone as I have been there – done that – and have got the T-shirt with my own kids ! 🙂
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