Pacifiers can be great for babies by helping them self-soothe, but at a certain point, they become detrimental to a child’s dental development. The thought of taking your child’s pacifier away might be daunting, especially if your child uses a pacifier to fall asleep, but you can do it. If your toddler still uses a pacifier, try these tips to help ease him or her away from it.
Avoid using harsh words and phrases when you’re training your toddler to stop using a pacifier. Time-outs, yelling, and other forms of punishment will only create more anxiety and make the situation worse.
Instead, use positive reinforcement. Praise your child when you see him soothing himself without using a pacifier. Create a star chart or reward chart that acknowledges when you notice your child not using a pacifier. By continuously praising your child for going through this milestone, you’re acknowledging the effort he is putting in and making him less likely to focus on the negative and more likely to focus on the positive.
Find other uses for your child’s hands
A lot of kids use pacifiers out of boredom. If this is the case for your child, find something else he can hold in his hands to occupy his time. Distraction can be a powerful tool when a habit stems from boredom.
Talk to and encourage your child
Talk to your child about why you want him to stop using a pacifier, instead of just taking it away without warning. Children deserve an explanation for a change in their routine, particularly when their routine brings them comfort. Encourage him by letting him know that you understand this is a hard change for him and that you’re proud of him for going through with it.
Like all milestones, every toddler will react differently to weaning from a pacifier. Don’t expect your child to be able to quit their pacifier in one night. For some, it may be a gradual process. Work together with your child to find new ways of self-soothing, and always remain positive as you encourage him to move forward with this new development. For more ideas on how to help your child stop using a pacifier, contact us today.