Pulling the plug on paci­fiers

> Here are some tips for par­ents to wean their chil­dren from hang­ing on to the baby’s dummy for too long

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

THE PACIFIER is a great par­ent­ing tool. When ba­bies are cranky, a pacifier will com­fort them. When they want to sleep, suck­ing on it will soothe them.

How­ever, there will come a time when the pacifier must be ditched. All good things must come to an end.

Some ex­perts say that the best time is be­tween 20 and 22 months. I to­tally agree with this as­sess­ment.

My logic is this: Chuck it too early, and you’ve not used the po­ten­tial of the pacifier to the fullest.

Dump it too late, and it might be more dif­fi­cult for the kids to quit the habit.

Here are some ways to help your chil­dren give up the pacifier.

Wean them off it This in­volves grad­u­ally re­duc­ing pacifier time.

For in­stance, the chil­dren may not get to use the pacifier dur­ing the day but only when they go to sleep.

Then you ex­clude us­age dur­ing naps, be­fore fi­nally elim­i­nat­ing from bed­time al­to­gether.

Make it taste bad Rub chilli pow­der or pep­per on it. If they don’t mind the hot stuff and still won’t let go, go to the phar­macy to buy some harm­less, bit­ter medicine for coat­ing the pacifier.

Chi­nese medicine can taste par­tic­u­larly vile. Off the top of my head, I think Ba Zhen Tang, the Eight Trea­sure Tonic for women might just do the trick.

Lose the pacifier How many times has the pacifier been mis­placed or gone miss­ing?

This lit­tle item can eas­ily slip down un­der the crib mat­tress, or fall un­der the sofa.

The next time it’s lost, let it stay lost. Or pre­tend to lose it and make a great show of search­ing for it high and low.

Of course, you have to hide it some place safe, or just throw it away.

Quit­ting cold turkey First, have a heart-to-heart talk with your tod­dlers. Ex­plain to them that they are big enough to make do with­out the pacifier.

Then gather up the col­lec­tion of paci­fiers in the house.

Kids are very smart. They might be able to squir­rel one away to hide in a drawer or toy bas­ket.

So make sure you count ev­ery pacifier you own, and hunt them all down.

If you want to make things truly fi­nal, cut up the teats be­fore you toss them. Merely throw­ing them away in the dust­bin may not be good enough.

When the chil­dren are des­per­ate, there’s no stop­ping them from re­triev­ing their trea­sure from the garbage.

To make sure this doesn’t hap­pen, send the bag of rub­bish out of the house im­me­di­ately.

Bet­ter still, do it on the day the garbage truck is due and let them see the truck driv­ing off. Let them wave bye-bye to the paci­fiers.

Later, when the crav­ing kicks in and they han­ker for the pacifier, re­mind them that the truck has car­ried them away.

Per­son­ally, I find the cold turkey method to be the most ef­fec­tive for my kids.

We had to put up with a lot of crank­i­ness and cry­ing for a few days, but af­ter that, all is well.

Ly­dia Teh is a mother of four and author of nine books, in­clud­ing the lat­est, Cow Sense for Young Peo­ple. Send com­ments to life­style.ly­dia@ the­sundaily.com.

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