There comes a time in every child’s life when she needs to say goodbye to her soother. While some children will be more resistant to giving up than others, many parents are unsure of how to ease the transition. Many parents will find themselves asking a variety of questions. When is the best time to broach the issue with my little one, for example? Are there any specific tricks or techniques I should use? What if my toddler refuses to give it up?
In this week’s article, we’re going to explore the most effective ways to help your little one give up his or her soother. Take a look.
- Don’t wait too long
The first piece of advice most experts give is as follows: try and get your little one to give up their soother early. Don’t wait until your little one is a toddler, or older, if possible. The longer your little one uses the soother, the more attached she will become to it.
- Positive Reinforcement
Whenever your little one asks for her soother, or goes looking for it, encourage them to try go without it. When they do, praise them with words like: ‘you’re such a big girl now.’ or ‘we’re so proud of you’. By positively reinforcing those occasions when she decides to forego her soother, she will begin to understand that going without it has benefits.
- Let your child lose it in his or her own time
Sooner or later, your child will lose her soother. Although you might be tempted to help them find it - or to replace it with another one - it might be a good idea to let it stay lost. Some parents have found this to be an easier way to let your child give up her soother, rather than taking it away. Chances are, within a week or two, she will realise she never needed it in the first place.
- Encourage them to give it to a sibling
Another helpful strategy is to try encourage your little one to pass their soother on to a younger sibling or relative. Let her know that now that she’s older - and a ‘big girl’ - she doesn’t need it anymore. Ask her if she’d be willing to pass it on to a younger sibling, who now needs it more than her. If she’s willing to go along with this, make a bit of a fuss about it and praise her for her maturity and generosity.
- Restrict if for special occasions
For some kids, a more gradual approach might be more appropriate. Start by allowing your child her soother only at certain times or in certain places. She can only have her soother when she goes to bed, for instance, or when she’s in her crib. By slowly weaning her off her reliance on her soother, you will make the final transition a good deal easier.
- Make it Unappealing
This might strike some parents as excessively manipulative, but some parents have found that making the soother taste bad is quite effective. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a child-friendly, but bad-tasting product that you can apply to the soother. Pretty soon, you might find that your little one has set aside her soother and has begun to forget all about it.
- Cold Turkey
For some parents, the most effective strategy might be the most obvious: take the soother away and leave it at that. Some children might just accept the change - or only remain upset for a short time. If that’s the case, this might be the quickest and most hassle-free solution after all.
Whatever the case, parents should decide what strategy is likely to work best with their child, based on their little one’s personality. There is no one size fits all solution. What works for one child, may not work for another.