It can be hard to know the right time your child should let go of the dummy. Some children will decide on their own, while other little ones may get very attached and therefore, giving it up could prove to be a challenge.
Around two years old is the ideal age, however there is little harm to their jaw or teeth if they use their dummy until the age of three. In most situations, it’s you as a parent who will need to make the call when the dummy should go. Don’t feel pressured by what other people around you suggest, do or think. This is your decision.
When you decide it’s the right time, a gradual approach is usually the easiest and fairest. Here are some tips:
- Work out why they want their dummy. Know why they depend on their dummy. Is it because they are bored, hungry, distracted, upset or tired?
- Allow your toddler to have their dummy only at certain times, such as during sleep time or when they are travelling in the car so they can get used to time without their dummy
- Offer something else to comfort them. Give your little one a blanket or teddy bear to comfort them through this change
- Talk to your toddler. If they are old enough to understand, tell them you think they have grown up and don’t need their dummy anymore
- Encourage your toddler to give up the dummy on their own. Put it in a special place when they’re not using it and make sure they can access it if they want it. This will help them learn to rely on it less and less
- Set up a reward system to encourage your toddler. If they are older than two put a chart on the fridge so they can get a sticker for everyday they go without using their dummy
- Mark a date to give up the dummy, once they are going for long periods of time without it
- Be wise with the timing. If your toddler is going through a period of stress or change, it is probably not a good time to try.
As much as you have prepared your child for this change, expect them to protest and have times when they get upset.