10 steps to ditching the dummy

The longer you leave it to ditch your child’s dummy, the more attached they will become to it. Bite the bullet while they're young and the agony will be less in the long run (although it may not feel like it at the time!). Make a start and follow these 10 simple steps.
Is it time to ditch your baby's dummy?

Bite the bullet while they're still young and the agony will be less in the long run (although it may not feel like it at the time!). The longer you leave it to take away their dummy, the harder and more attached they will become to it.

Weaning from 12 to 18 months is ideal, because dummies can cause real problems with older children.

The long term effects of using a dummy can push the palate of your little one's mouth upwards, forcing the teeth out of line. It may also affect their speech and language development.

Weaning your little one off their dummy should be a gradual process.

Start with a simple explanation telling your little one it’s time to give up their dummy and why.

It's important to let your child know the plan so that they’re fully prepared.


10 steps to ditching the dummy


1. Don't rush

You won't wean a child off a dummy overnight.

It's less stressful to plan to take a couple of weeks so everyone can make that gradual adjustment.

Start by explaining very simply, ‘You're a big girl/boy now. Dummies are for babies and smaller children.'


2. Make a deal

Agree not to use the dummy outside the house.

Tell your little one: ‘We're going to the shops. We've agreed to no dummy, so we'll take a toy instead.'

If they throw a tantrum whilst you’re out or before you leave demanding their dummy, stay calm and remind them of the deal.

Once they’re used to not using a dummy outside the house, you can start to limit it at other times too.


3. Don't feel guilty

Remember, when you're trying to change your child's behaviour, it always gets worse before it gets better.

Don't start feeling guilty, you're not depriving your child of love and cuddles.


4. Distract them

Keep a small box in your pocket or handbag, filled with small toys, leaves and other interesting objects.

When your little demands their dummy, say, "What's in my box?" Change the contents to keep their interest.


5. Stand firm

Don't give in! Set a boundary and stick to it.

Distract them with the ‘magic box' as often as you need to.


6. No sweet treats

If you offer sweet treats or food when your child wants a dummy, you are weaning them off one habit onto another.

It’s not a good idea to use food as a reward system.


7. Drop nicknames

Kids love their dummies and often personalise them with a special name.

When you start to wean them off their dummy, drop the nickname to help remove the closeness and connection that they have with their dummy.


8. Give it away

When you feel the time is right, plan how you will give the dummy away with your little one.

A formal ‘giving away' ceremony gives your child the responsibility of letting go.

They can hand it to a newborn baby, put it in the bin or leave it out for the ‘dummy fairy’ to collect over night.


9. Use sticker charts

Reward your child for a dummy-free morning or shopping trip with a sticker on a chart.

Offer them rewards or a special outing once they’ve collected five no-dummy stickers.


10. Get support

You will need support as your child goes through the weaning process.

Tell family, friends and childcare staff what you're doing, so everyone knows the plan and no one gives way.

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