Winging the Pacifier: Ask Mrs Manners

Cynthia Dermody
13

getting rid of the pacifier

The Paci Fairy -- caught on film!

Photo by Studio4013

The toddler years are the perfect age to start teaching your kids manners and good habits. And MrsManners aka: Angela Pitre, owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern Family and FamilyMannersMadeFun.com, is here to help.

Dear MrsManners,

What's an effective way to "wing" my daughter from the pacifier? Recently my sister had a baby boy. So, pacifiers have been laying around the house. My daughter never really cared too much for pacifiers until she saw my nephew with one. So, she started wanting a pacifier and I started giving it to her so she would go to sleep. Now, everything has spiraled out of control. Instead of her wanting it for sleep she wants it throughout the day. She is 20 months and I refuse to allow her to have a pacifier once she turns two years old. -- anonymous

MrsManners says:

Lots of other moms have been asking the same questions lately -- just check out Answers or any number of group posts! Let me tell you what my sister has done with her four children. It was a startlingly easy solution to a seemingly impossible situation. I myself am ramping up to this process as we close in on my son's second Birthday.

The process begins by taking stock of the number of pacifiers you have in the house.  Let your child know that there are only, say, three of them left.  Explain that when these are gone, there will be no more.

Over a period of time, say a month, begin prepping your child for the impending arrival of the Ba Ba Fairy/Paci Fairy. Choose whatever name you like.Think of her as the tooth fairy for pacifiers. Tell your child that the fairy comes to take the pacifier to another child who needs it more.  This is a great opportunity to teach the lesson of giving to your child.

Every time you "lose" another one, remind your child that you are getting closer to the Fairy's arrival.

When you are down to one pacifier, you may decide to wait one to four weeks before taking the final pacifier away depending on how attached your child really is. By the time you have started the process, your child should be approaching their second birthday and only using the pacifier at nap time and bed time. 

Here is where the fun really comes in.  Take a small box, just big enough to hold a pacifier and decorate it with your child.  Let them color all over it, write notes to the fairy like, "Please take care of my paci for my son," etc. Then, ask your child to stick the box at the foot of their bed. 

When the toddler is sleeping, remove the box. When the child asks for the pacifier, remind them that they gave it to the Fairy and all should be well. There may be a couple days or weeks of difficult sleeping, but just keep reminding them and encouraging their new big boy or big girl behavior. 

My nieces and nephews all wrote notes to the fairy as the next child in line went through this process. It was very cute, and the kids, all over the age of 9 now, recently stumbled across all of their boxes when the family moved. They thought it was the coolest thing in the world and each child asked my sister to keep the boxes for them to look back on when they are parents.

Feel free to submit a question directly to me or post it here. You may just find a note from me letting you know that your question has been selected by Mrs Manners for this week's topic!  Until next week!

Angela W. Pitre, aka MrsManners

Past Ask Mrs Manners columns:

Should Parents Say 'Thank You'?

Toddlers Eating Everything

Throwing-Obsessed Toddlers

Are You a Hypocrite?

Pushy Toddlers

Taming the Messy Eater

How to Have Well Behaved Toddlers

My Son Won't Stop Touching Other Moms' Breasts!

Is Shyness Impolite?

Stop Peer Pressure Early

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