So, you’ve gotten through the first few months, maybe years, of being a mom. You’ve made it through learning how to change diapers, learning how to feed, learning how to function off of little or no sleep.
You’ve started solids and have figured out how to baby proof everything in your home. You’ve helped your little one learn to crawl and even walk…but you have this nagging in the back of your mind about something you’ve got to deal with…
You know your kiddo is long past NEEDING a pacifier and you are slightly embarrassed when your child still has one in his mouth when you are out in public. But at the same time you also know that your child will throw one mighty huge fit if you even attempt to take that thing away. You begin to wonder…will my child ever sleep without it? Will I have the ONLY child in Kindergarten who still has a paci?!
I confess…I’ve been there…five times over. I read all of the books that said to only use a pacifier for 2-3 months and also I read the ones that said to never offer them in the first place.
I didn’t listen.
Honesty, I LOVED my kids having the pacifier maybe as much as my kids enjoyed using them. I was in no hurry to get rid of it. I felt like it helped my children go to sleep and it even helped them when they got hurt. It was a comfort to them, and it went hand in hand with their favorite blanket.
And…well, fine, let’s keep it real, I thought it was cute.
But there does come a day when you realize you’ve got to get rid of it…and probably already should have gotten rid of it…but how?!
****Quick side note: If you have not yet read the first post regarding the importance of recognizing transitions in childhood, and the second post of the practical tips in helping with transitions please begin there!
Let me suggest a……..PACIFIER PARTY!
Nope. Not joking at all. Not one tiny bit.
So here’s what you do.
-Let your child know that a party is coming and explain the reason why. Sound upbeat, but not overly excited that you’ll scare your young one. “The time has come for you to grow up a little bit and get rid of all of your pacifiers! Paci’s are for lil babies and since you’re not a little baby anymore you finally get to get rid of them! Yay! It’ll be a special celebration day just for you, kind of like your birthday!”
-Pick a Day and Plan a Party: Yep. A real party. You are celebrating a huge milestone in your kiddo’s life so do it up a lil bit! ***Note: We would either just keep it in the family with mom/dad/siblings, or schedule it on an evening when we knew we were already having company over to make it feel more full and include others in our lives.
-Make a cake, some cupcakes, your child’s favorite treat, or buy some ice cream or even just a package of Oreos…doesn’t really matter so long as it’s something your child doesn’t normally get and would be super excited to eat!
-Buy one small toy they can open. No need to go crazy, something small from the dollar store is fine! Maybe something soft to cuddle with at bedtime in place of having the pacifier. Glowsticks, bubbles, stickers, cars, party favors….just pick something small to help celebrate.
-At the time of the party begin the night by going around the house and collect together (like an Easter egg hunt) all of the pacifiers. Make sure to get them ALL! 🙂 Don’t wanna have to sort that out should one pop up later, trust me! 🙂 Put them in a baggie and zip them up and then have a small ceremony saying goodbye to them. Have your child—-going to repeat that again—-have your child throw them away. Not you. Let him be the one to literally toss them.
-Then cheer and begin the celebration!
Make sure to continue talking with your child all throughout the evening about how proud you are of him. Talk about what it’s going to be like going to bed without it now and remind your child repeatedly about how much fun it is to grow up and get bigger. Lots of hugs, love and celebrating.
-Eat dessert and enjoy one another!
***Note: If child is at all upset make SURE to not ignore or make fun. Remember that even though this is a very small thing to you, this is a big transition for him.
Ask questions, look directly into his eyes, listen intently to what he is trying to say, validate what he is feeling but reassure him that this is what is best. Let him know you’re proud of him and you’ll be there every step of the way to help him get used to life without a pacifier.
-Sing a few extra songs or read an extra story that first night. Let your lil one know it’ll definitely feel different, but that this new change is a GOOD thing. And if your child does go to sleep without it, by all means celebrate that with plenty of hugs when he wakes! 🙂
I hope you have as much success as we have with this party method to get rid of your kid’s pacifiers. Honestly we have had NO trouble with any of them getting upset about it afterward. Each of the kids at one point or another would ask for the pacifier again, but other than simply talking through it there was no drama or negative aftermath. My response was always the same…in the most loving and comforting tone I would say, “Oh, no! We can’t have that again! You’ve GOT to remember how fun that party was! Do you remember getting to collect them all and throw them away? Do you remember all of the people who were so proud of you? Do you remember the yummy dessert and the new toy?” Help remind them of the milestone and their big accomplishment and help them to look forward to what is next in their journey!