Legend of the Pacifier: Break The Binky Habit

Now that we have covered why children become attached to the pacifier and how the pacifier can affect your child long-term, let’s discuss fun and useful ways to help your child cut the “binky” habit.

Breaking your child’s pacifier habit will not be an easy task. Our recommendation to parents is the earlier you start talking to your child about quitting their habit, the easier it will be for YOU and for the child.

Step 1: So You Want To Be A Big Kid?

Around 2 years old, begin to talk to your child about how you think it’s a good idea since they are a “big boy” or “big girl” to stop using their pacifier. After all, pacifiers are for babies, right!? This is very easy for them to understand and is a concept you can repeat every time they use the pacifier.

Step 2: Bribes or High-Fives?

As we all know, children have very different personalities and likes/dislikes. Some kids respond well to incentives, while others might do better with positive reinforcement from their parents when they are not using their pacifiers. Some children require all of the above.

Below is a list of recommendations from local Richmond Parents on how they got their child to stop using the pacifier. We gathered most of these on our Facebook page and a recent discussion on RichmondMom.com‘s Facebook group.

  1. Take a trip to Build-a-Bear and place all of your pacifiers inside the bear. Then your child is still “sleeping” with their pacifiers, but not in their mouth!
  2. Mail” your pacifiers to someone of your child’s choosing:  a grandparent, a friend who has a baby, etc.
  3. Place all your pacifiers in a bag and take them back to your dentist’s office! I bet your dentist will give you a special prize in return.
  4. Play “Paci-fairy” one night and place all your child’s pacifiers under their pillow at night so the paci-fairy can take them away and leave something behind as a surprise!
  5. Use a reward calendar and accumulate stickers for all the days your child doesn’t use the pacifier. Once the child has a certain number of stickers, they can pick out a new toy.

Your Turn!

We hope this information will help guide parents in the right direction when faced with a child who is attached to their pacifier. If you have a child and have conquered the binkie habit, share your ideas! As sleep-deprived parents, we could all use a little help in the creativity department. For all those parents of binkie lovers, we wish you luck and good riddance to the pacifier.

(CC Photo Credit: krski19 on Flickr)

Elizabeth Cook Miller, D.D.S., M.S. is a pediatric dentist at Atkins, Maestrello, Miller & Associates Pediatric Dentistry in Richmond, VA. She is a new mother, active runner and her favorite movie is "Finding Nemo".

2 Comments

  • Tyler

    June 6, 2012, 10:34 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! I’ve seen children with terrible dental problem from pacifiers, but also seen parents who try to break the habit by yelling, humiliation, spanking, etc… Not any better!

  • Jen L.

    June 15, 2012, 12:40 pm

    This is such a great reminder! We can never hear too many times how important prevention and healthy behaviors are when it comes to oral health.

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