It’s a day that most parents and kids all dread… taking away the pacifier.
No matter what you call it – Nuk, Pacifier, Soothie – it has been a great tool for you as a parent up until this point. Whether you are deciding it is time for a change or your dentist is starting to recommend losing it, the day will come when you need to take it away.
This is a very stressful thing for both parents and kids.
For parents, it’s the end of a useful tool that has helped you soothe your child and keep them quiet in stressful situations.
For kids, it is something that they associate with relaxation and sleep. It is also the first time that they are getting something taken away from them predominantly, making this possibly the worst day of their life to this point.
So what are the best ways to approach this time? Every child is different, so here are some different techniques that we have seen and heard that might work for you!
Note: No matter what you choose to try, it is important to approach this process with patience. The truth is that this is not going to be very fun and could be something you work on for weeks. You must view it this way and be prepared for a little less sleep than you are used to.
1. The Nuk Fairy
Many of the techniques you are going to read about here come with positive reinforcement. The most common of these is to use something called the Nuk Fairy. Very much like the Tooth Fairy, this Fairy leaves presents for kids to give up their pacifiers.
You can use this method in a couple of different ways. Some parents choose to have their child give up all of them at once while others will choose to have their child give up pacifiers one by one.
Whatever one you choose, make sure you communicate with your child what is happening and play up the rewards that they are getting from the Fairy. Some kids are going to be more motivated for food while others might want a small toy. Once you find that motivator, use it to reinforce your child giving them up.
Once they have given up all the pacifiers, do not give in if they ask about them. Point to all the rewards they received and talk to them about how good of a job they did.
2. Countdown Calendar
Another good way to help a child get rid of their pacifiers is via a countdown calendar. Again, there are many ways to do this but the idea is the same. Let your child interact with the entire process of giving them up by showing them when they need to be done.
You can create a paper link chain, make a calendar with stickers, or have them cross out each day of the week. Whatever it is, make sure it is interactive and talk every day about what is going to happen.
When the day comes, make it a big celebration and throw in some gifts as well. It is all about making them feel like it is a big deal and that they did such a cool thing.
3. “Mail” Them Away
If your child is a natural-born empath, talking to them about mailing them away to other kids is also something we have seen parents do successfully.
Right around this age frame, kids are very focused on becoming “big boys” and “big girls” and want to have more responsibility to be more like their parents. You can use this idea to teach them that pacifiers are for little babies and that it is time that they send them off to other kids that need them.
This won’t work for every child because they need to be driven by being “big” and also very empathetic to other kids who might not have pacifiers. However, if your child checks both of these boxes, you can use these motivating factors to help get rid of those pacifiers.
Again, make this a happy experience. Let them help pack the box and “put it in the mail”. Talk about the amazing thing they did and reward them with something awesome!
Taking away a pacifier is not a day parents or children look forward to, but it is necessary. Hopefully one of these tips helps you make the process easier for everyone and helps make both you and your child sleep much easier!