Is it time to say goodbye to the binky in your household? Pacifier usage is common in babies, but it’s not healthy to allow a long-term habit to develop. Prolonged pacifier usage can lead to minor deformities in mouth growth, changes to the roof of the mouth, and misalignment of your child’s first teeth.
You can avoid costly health problems by kicking the habit early. With the following tips, you’ll learn how to guide and support your child as you eliminate pacifier use in your home.
1. Go Cold Turkey
Some children will respond extremely well to going ‘cold turkey’ when kicking the binky habit. Set a date, talk about it beforehand, and then remove all pacifiers from the home as agreed with your child. A birthday is a wonderful time to do this. Birthdays signify change, reminding kids that they’re growing up.
Cold turkey binky elimination could be a major step in your child’s development. Give your child positive reinforcement and let them know that they’re a big kid now who doesn’t need a pacifier.
2. Try Weaning Your Child Off a Pacifier if Cold Turkey Isn’t Your Thing
Not every parent wants to go cold turkey when helping their child to kick the pacifier habit. If you find yourself in this group, then you can follow the weaning approach instead.
Rather than simply cutting out the binky suddenly, you can start to eliminate it over a period of weeks or even months. First remove pacifiers from areas of the home that are stress-free. Limit usage to naps and bedtime. Gradually work your way up to remove the binky from naps, and ultimately from bedtime as well.
This gradual change allows for a smoother transition without distress and anxiety.
3. Exchange the Pacifier for Something New
It’s important to allow time for your child to break the mental connection that they have with their pacifier. This connection is a deep aspect of childhood psychology, so whether you’re going cold turkey or weaning your child off over time, you should introduce something new to help ease the shock.
There are countless strategies that can be used. Some parents like to offer small gifts as rewards in exchange of a pacifier. This puts the onus on your child. If they feel like giving up the binky is their own decision, then the entire process will be much easier. The rewards don’t have to be big or expensive.
Ideas include cooking your child’s favorite meal, taking them out for a special dessert, or giving small toys. The reward is entirely up to you. The key is to help your child understand that they’ve made the right decision.
4. Tell a Story or Read a Book Designed to Wean Kids off Pacifiers
Do you love to be creative by telling your children stories? Story time is the perfect opportunity to entertain and educate your child. You could help them to understand why it’s important to stop using a pacifier, and how this is a very natural and important part of growing up. There are countless children’s books that cover the topic of kicking the pacifier habit.
You’ll even find simple and free resources online, sometimes in the most unexpected places. Take this hit Sesame Street song as an example. The Bye Bye Binky Song is just one fun way that you could help your child to put down the pacifier.
5. Remove Pacifiers from Your Home and Car So That You Aren’t Tempted
We often think of the binky habit as something that children need to break. In reality, many parents are somewhat reliant on pacifiers too! You might be tempted to hand a pacifier to your child during times of stressful parenting. To avoid being a part of the problem, actively seek out all the pacifiers in your home, car, day bags etc., and then remove them! Simply not having pacifiers readily available could be enough to help your child break the habit.
Do you have concerns about your child’s oral health? You can get the best pediatric dental care from the fun and friendly team at That Broadway Smile. We offer a safe and engaging environment for children of all ages, making our clinic your best choice for dental care in Nassau County.