How to wean your toddler off pacifier or thumb sucking
Need to wean your toddler off pacifier or thumb sucking? As most parents know, toddlers are pretty stubborn😑 at times and let’s face it, they know what they want and they are not afraid to tell you when they want it. So, it should really come as no surprise that it’s next to impossible to get them to give up their pacifier without the whole underworld freezing over first!
Toddlers suck their thumbs for various reasons, but mainly it is because they need to feel emotionally secure. The sucking motion calms and pacifies them, giving them a sense of peace and safety.
To a baby, giving up the thumb (or bink) can be a horrifying transition. No longer is there a way for them to self-soothe when their anxiety creeps high (unless you teach them a new way or offer a substitute to the thumb or pacifier).
Luckily, there are a few helpful tips you can use to wean your toddler off pacifier / thumb sucking that may make the whole process easier for you and your toddler. Below is a list of several ways you can wean your child in no time!
1. Discourage Thumb Sucking in Public
To wean your toddler off thumb sucking, gently reminding your child that this behavior is no longer appropriate in the company of strangers is a great way to begin breaking the habit. It’s also a great way to reduce the transference or germs in public places. Toddlers are known to touch just about everything and no amount of hand sanitizer is strong enough to kill every germ (but it does help).
2. Encourage Self-Awareness
Sometimes when toddlers are feeling anxious they don’t realize they are even sucking their thumb or reaching for their bink. Before you lose your temper, just simply ask your baby if they even know they are sucking on their pacifier or their thumb. As soon as they learn this behavior is not appreciated, they will start relying on it less and less.
3. Praise Your Child
Positivity is a wonderful way to reinforce good behavior. It fills your toddler with a sense of happiness and pride. This will encourage them to continue to please and eventually give up their bad habit.👍🏾 This might be the easiest way to wean your toddler off pacifier / thumb sucking.
4. Bribery Can Work
For the absolute stubborn child, sometimes it may seem like there is just no winning with him or her. You could perform reverse robbery and nothing in the world would make them give up their binky.
To wean your toddler off pacifier, find a small treat that they want more than their pacifier. Suddenly that thumb doesn’t look like as much fun anymore.
5. Remind Your Child of Gross, Icky Germs
Some children don’t like being dirty. They naturally have a strong aversion to germs of any sort. These toddlers will wail and wail if their pacifier falls onto the floor, obviously contaminated with the most horrendous of things unseen. Nothing will console them until it’s been properly washed and rinsed and finally returned to them.
These children are easier to convert from the pacifier. To wean your toddler off pacifier, all you have to do is remind them of all the germs that live on their bink and eventually they will gross themselves out.
6. The Threat of Crooked Teeth
A little old school fear tactics may work with true pacifier addicts. Let’s face it, no one wants horrifying crooked teeth. To wean your toddler off pacifier, kindly remind your toddler that if they keep sucking on their bink they will eventually end up with crooked teeth! According to pediatrician Dr. Sherman, “the pacifier can alter the way your child’s jaw develops. Your child’s bottom teeth will be in and their top teeth will be out.”
They may not believe you at first, but over time they may begin to believe you and lose confidence in their pacifier.
7. Offer Plushies or a New Blanket
This is the substitution method. Some children need more emotional support than others. This can be for many different reasons. For these toddlers, pacifier weaning is the most challenging. To wean your toddler off pacifier, simply find a new plushie or a security blanket that can be used as a substitute. Be forewarned, these children usually move from sucking their pacifiers to their thumbs. Don’t lose hope though; all children do eventually grow out of this habit in time.
In fact, according to the American Dental Association, most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. Many school aged children to stop putting their fingers in their mouth due to peer pressure.
8. Cold Turkey
If that fails, to wean your toddler off pacifier, resort to the absolute final method and just take the bink away cold turkey. Make sure all of them have been discarded properly and prepare for war! Make sure to be well stocked on pain relievers. Your toddler is going to wail louder than a foghorn and throw the most massive fit ever witnessed by the human eye!
After a couple of days though, your baby will begin to find a new way to pacify him or herself and you will have successfully achieved victory; mastering how to wean your toddler off pacifier / thumb sucking.🏆