How to Get Rid of Pacifier Dependency
Curious to learn how to get rid of pacifier dependency/thumb sucking in toddlers? As most parents know, toddlers are pretty stubborn😑 at times and 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 toddler, 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 provide pacifier alternatives for toddlers. (More on that later.)
Luckily, there are a few helpful tips on how to get rid of pacifier dependency/ thumb sucking. These suggestions should make the whole process easier for you and your toddler. Let’s get started!
1. Discourage Thumb Sucking in Public
To effectively learn the techniques on how to get rid of pacifier dependency/thumb sucking in your toddler, gently remind your child that this behavior is no longer appropriate in the company of strangers. It’s also a great way to reduce the transference of 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 sucking their thumb or reaching for their bink. Before you lose your temper, 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 begin pacifier weaning and stop thumb sucking altogether.
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 learn how to get rid of pacifier dependency in these toddlers, 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 tend to be the most receptive to pacifier weaning. The easiest way how to get rid of pacifier dependency in these toddlers is to 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 tactic may work with true pacifier addicts. Let’s face it, no one wants horrifying crooked teeth. To begin pacifier weaning using this method, 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. Look at you mastering how to get rid of pacifier dependency!
7. Offer Plushies or a New Blanket
This is the substitution method where you provide pacifier alternatives for toddlers. Some children need more emotional support than others. This can be for many different reasons. For these toddlers, learning how to get rid of pacifier dependency is the most challenging. To begin pacifier weaning, simply find new plushies or a security blanket that can be used as pacifier alternatives for toddlers. Be forewarned, these children usually successfully complete pacifier weaning but move to sucking 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. But before they become school aged, it’s a good idea to start brainstorming some pacifier alternatives for toddlers.
8. Cold Turkey
If that fails, another way that addresses how to get rid of pacifier dependency is to 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 what’s to come! 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 toddler will begin to find a new way to pacify him or herself and you will have successfully achieved victory; mastering how to get rid of pacifier dependency/thumb sucking.🏆
Concluding Thoughts on Pacifier Weaning/Thumb Sucking
Today we learned 8 ways to get rid of pacifier dependency/thumb sucking. All toddlers are different so what works best for one, may not work for another. We learned that communicating with your toddler about your views on thumb sucking and creating awareness about the frequency of their behavior are good first steps for pacifier weaning/thumb sucking.
We also learned that reinforcing good behavior and providing pacifier alternatives for toddlers could be the keys to success when it comes to pacifier weaning.
For some toddlers, awareness about the presence of germs or the possibility of crooked teeth might be enough to jump-start the pacifier weaning journey.
Lastly, we mentioned the cold turkey method as an option for how to get rid of pacifier dependency. Though this is jarring initially, after a few days it could be effective in pacifier weaning your toddler.
As you can tell, there are many options for how to get rid of pacifier dependency. No matter where you start, your toddler will eventually stop sucking their thumb and using a pacifier. Take comfort in knowing that you have the tools to help them get there quicker.