Updated: Jan 18
It's common to use pacifiers as a way to help your children sooth themselves, especially when it comes to managing emotions and falling asleep - but what happens when the time comes to wave goodbye?
Here are our top four tips for putting that pacifier in the past:
🙏🏽 Stay Calm! This can be a really stressful change for little ones, and you might noticed some increases in rebellious behaviour, but remember that you are in charge and this is the best decision for you both.
💬 Stay Clear! You don't need to get into details about why pacifiers are 'bad' or no longer wanted in the house, just agree on your approach with fellow caregivers as to why you are removing the dummy and explain this clearly to your little one.
❌ Stay Consistent! Again, make sure everyone is on the same page, and that pacifiers aren't being taken away and then reintroduced; you don't necessarily have to go cold turkey immediately but a set routine will help with the process.
🫂 Stay Comforting! Remember what your little one likely uses their dummy for - comfort! - and offer this in other ways, such as through back rubs, extra stories, or a favourite toy or blanket.
To explore more on the subject, we spoke to author and dad Tom Loughrey, who's celebrating the launch of his debut children's picture book - Giving Up's Hard When You're only 3!
Here, Tom explains his inspiration behind the book, and how he managed to convince his little ones to stop using their pacifiers...
"Getting rid of the dodie (pacifier/dummy) in our house was so difficult, we eventually had to call on a magical fairy for help! It was a stressful time for us as parents, but more than that, a distressing time for our two young daughters who had come to rely so heavily on it for comfort and for sleep. But we were becoming concerned over the development of their teeth and knew we had to act.
In the end, Frankie the Fairy came to our rescue! Frankie offered our girls a special trade, one which the girls had full autonomy over the decision. Frankie offered them two beautiful new teddies in exchange for their dodies that he wanted to take and give to the little babies whose gums were sore.
To our amazement, the strategy worked. We believe that allowing the girls to make the decision themselves was key in achieving the smooth transition that resulted. The girls were made to feel just mature enough to understand that they no longer needed the dodies and they felt a sense of achievement in knowing that their dodies were going to little babies who needed them more."
Tom Loughrey lives with his wife Anne-Marie and their two daughters, Lauren and Hollie, in the serene countryside setting of Ballyglunin, Co. Galway, home to ‘Castletown’ train station, where Seán Thornton, played by the legendary John Wayne, stepped off the train in search of Innishfree in the all-time classic movie, The Quiet Man.
Life is much less quiet for Tom now as he balances writing wonderfully imaginative children’s books with working fulltime and sharing quality hours with his family. Giving Up’s Hard When You’re Only 3 is Tom’s first children’s book.