Thursday, 21 March 2013

Getting rid of the D-U-M-M-Y!

                   Weaning your child off of the dummy can be very stressful for all involved!

I have only a few pictures of my daughter with a dummy. I never wanted for her to have one really, but had to give in when we were getting real trouble in settling her when she was small. I only ever had clear ones and she only ever had them for sleeping times. It was just my personal choice.

We weaned her off the dummy at 10 months. I decided that  I was going to take the dummy away from her. She had always had the two comforters for sleep, her dummy and a blanket. This meant that when we took away the dummy, she still had something comforting to hold to. We didn't really "wean" her off either, I just stopped giving it to her! She had the blanket (which she still uses today at bedtimes) and we had one very long, exhausting night! Luckily, she quickly got used to not having it. By persevering and not giving in, the process was easy and pretty stressless!!

However, most children have their dummies longer. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but sometimes getting a dummy, or pacifier as they are also called, off of a toddler can be a nightmare. It can be extremely upsetting from the child and the adults point of view. There are many different techniques you can try when getting rid of the dummy, which I will list here, but the most important thing is that you make sure before you start that the child is well and not going through any other changes before getting rid of their comforter!

1.  The "Dummy Fairy" used by Supernanny, Jo Frost, is an effective and helpful technique. In this link, she shows how the technique is carried out in 2 stages and involves a lot of animation and strength from the parents!!

2.  "Cold Turkey" - this is the best technique with under 2's. Make sure that the dummies are away and out of reach and sight of the child (better still, just bin them so that they are not even a temptation for you to go back to!) and distract them using toys, games and outings to keep their mind off of it. At bedtimes, replace with another comforter such as a cuddly toy, which is for night times only.

3.  "Rewarding" create a reward system which encourages the child to not have their dummies. This could be a star chart, sticker chart or whatever works best with your child's interests. Remember to compliment their good behaviour, but without mentioning the "d" word where possible.

4. "Use the season" Sometimes the arrival of the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas can be an ideal time to give up. The idea of getting presents or chocolate for their dummy and giving it to a figure of make believe can be really tempting for a child.

5. "Check the Dentist" Some dentist practises have dummy drop off facilities, allowing children to give the dummy away. You can talk to your dentist to see if they will talk to your older child about the dummy and how it can harm their teeth. You never know, sometimes hearing it from someone else rather than your parents can be effective.

6.  "The Book Approach" this can be used alongside a technique or by itself, depending on the child. There are many books out there on getting rid of dummies which are great for children. You can try:

* No more dummy for piggy by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams

* Binky by Leslie Patricelli board books

* The last Noo Noo by Jill Murphy

* I want my Dummy! By Tony Ross

* Giving up your dummy with the dummy fairy by Laura Griffiths

* The Diddy tree by Michelle McKenna (which also has a really good idea for getting rid of dummies)

7.  "The ask them approach" which is dependant on the child and really for older children. Sit them down and go through the things which they feel make them a big boy/girl and discuss the dummies. Ask them how they think the dummies could go onto help others or how they can go away now that they are big.

8. "The snip it approach" simply snipping the end of the dummy so it doesn't work the same when sucked and then tell the child they are broken and throw them away. Do not replace them.

9. "The balloon approach" Tie the dummies to the end of a bunch of balloons and set them free. Helium balloons obviously work best and some children like to believe the angels will give the dummies to little babies who need them!

10. "The negotiation approach" Simply ask the child what they would like in exchange for their dummy. You could even take them to the toy shop and chose what they would like and get them to give the dummies to the cashier (best warn them first!!)

11. "The build a bear Technique" This is a different idea which has been proven to work. Take your child to the Build a bear shop and once they go to get the bear stuffed, ask the child to put the dummy inside the bear before it gets sewn up. This way, they have seen the dummy go into the bear and in a sense, it is still with them when they hug the bear!

I hope these ideas can be of use to you all. Just remember that things may be tough for a week or so when you get rid of the dummy, but it is worth it in the long run for your child's long term development.

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