Ditching the Dummy

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It can often be a difficult battle with your child when you think it’s time for the dummy to go, but they are just not ready to give it up. Today, we want to identify the importance of ditching the dummy and provide some helpful tips on how to get the job done.

Why it’s time to say goodbye to the dummy

If your child is using a dummy for most of the day, this can lead to a reduction in the number of words and sounds they are saying or imitating. It is much more difficult for them to form sounds and words properly, or try to copy the ones you are modelling for them, with something in their mouth! If used consistently for extended periods of time, dummies can also cause an “open bite” as it disrupts the typical growth of the teeth. These are important reasons why it’s best to get rid of the dummy as early as possible.

The tough part

So, how do you do it? We suggest making saying goodbye to the dummy a part of the daily routine, or giving it away to “someone in need”. Every morning when your child wakes up, you can wave goodbye to the dummy for today and put it out of sight. If it becomes a habit that your child only has the dummy at night time, it can eventually become a simple part of the day-to-day routine. A number of parents may also use their child’s birthday as an opportunity to get rid of the dummy for good. They may use the birthday as a “big boy” or “big girl” celebration where the dummy is thrown away as they are now big enough to no longer use it. Some parents also suggest to their child that someone else needs it, so the dummy can be “given away as a gift”.

What about thumb suckers?

For those parents whose little ones are thumb suckers, it can be more challenging, but we’ve got some handy hints for you too. If your child is old enough to understand a cause-effect system, you can use a sticker chart. Every day they go without sucking their thumb, they can earn a sticker and work towards a larger prize. You could also provide them with a different object of comfort to hold, to keep their hands busy.

For all parents, it’s important to remember that when you are reinforcing good behaviours, it’s best to use positive language. Try saying, “I love how your hands are down” instead of “Good job for not sucking your thumb”.

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