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 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.