Does your child have a dummy obsession?
If so, then you have probably done a fair bit of research on what to do to get rid of the dummy and when the right time is to do it.
Many experts advise that, if a child does have a dummy, that they should get rid of it before their second birthday. Other experts suggest that as long as a child has stopped using the dummy by the time they start school, then everything will be fine. But, forget what the experts have to say – what about you? After all, you’re the one who needs to deal with the tantrums and tears when you do decide it’s time to go dummy-free.
So How Old is Too Old for a Dummy?
Well – that is a really good question. Most ‘professionals’ recommend the age of two. I’ll admit mine was three and a half before we finally gave it up. It is hard work and dummies do give you that little bit of quiet that mums and dads sometimes need. If you work on getting rid of it before they are three – I think you will do well!
There are plenty of suggestions on getting rid of the dummy and one may be the right option for you. Some options allow the child to decide when the time is right while others put the parent in charge of getting rid of the dummy. Some options work best for older children that have the ability to reason while others are best suited for younger toddlers. Below are some of the suggestions on getting rid of a dummy:
1. Go Cold Turkey
Parents who have taken the dummy away and lived to tell the story about it say that it takes around three days of kicking and screaming to get used to life without it. If you’re up for the challenge and have a few easy days in your schedule, then go for it! Ear plugs are optional but highly recommended. Be firm – and make sure you throw them ALL out – otherwise, you’re likely to give in at about day two!
“I went cold turkey – it was so hard… Then the worst thing was that my son had stashed dummies all around the house in places I didn’t know about. So every time he found another one, we had to start again. I am STILL finding dummies a whole year later!!!” Julie, Sippy Downs
2. Go Gradually
If your child has the dummy throughout the day, take it away slowly. For example, only let them have it when they are at home, in the car, napping or going to bed. Then start taking it away when they are at home and in the car and then move onto napping and bedtime. This can take several weeks as well as several fights and tears but some mums swear it is the way to go. Praising your child when they can go without it is a good tactic when going gradually. Kids naturally want to please their parents!
3. Go Sneaky
Another option is to poke holes in the tips of the dummies so that when they suck, it is not as satisfying. Or, wait until they chew through them. They may stop wanting the dummy on their own if it is broken and not as fun to suck on. Or, they may kick and scream until you get them another one. But, hey, it could be worth a try!
“The ‘Dummy Fairy’ came and took all the dummies in the house one night. She wrote a note too – Dear Josiah, you are a big boy now and don’t need your dummy anymore. I’m giving it to a new baby that needs it more. Be a good boy for your Mummy.’ He was happy with that.” Natalie, Cottesloe
4. Go with Bribery
With an older child, you may be able to persuade them to give up the dummy in exchange for something better, such as a new toy. However, this will only work with children that are able to reason and remember.
5. Go with a Little White Lie
Another option is to gather up all the dummies in the house and give them to the “Dummy Fairy”, the “Easter Bunny” or “Santa” depending on when you are trying this trick. If your little one is old enough to understand these characters, they may be happy to put their dummies under the tree and let Santa take them away on Christmas Eve as long as there are presents in their place in the morning.
“I have a 2 1/2 year old, Santa took dummy and I said she got presents in return, it worked very well! I also said dummies are for babies and that she is a big girl now. She asked for it sometimes and while upset, It lasted a while, I just gave a cuddle and said you have lovely Santa gifts. She is over it. I must say, she has a blankie also. Maybe Easter Bunny could work also?” Leeanne, Bribie Island
6. Go with your Heart
At the end of the day, however, this is something that you need to decide on. If you do not feel comfortable taking the dummy away just yet, then don’t. If you know your toddler still loves their dummy, then let them have it. This is a decision and a transition that you, your partner, and your little one need to be all ready to conquer together.