Bye-Bye Binky: How To Help Your Child Give Up The Pacifier Without Tears
Updated: Jun 22, 2019
There comes a time in every child's life where they will need to give up their pacifier. This can be a really challenging time for both child and parent. It is really important to note that all children handle this transition differently. It is usually viewed as a big step, although it seems that some children give it up on there own.
Fletcher is now 2.5 years old and has only been using his pacifier for naps and nights for quite a while now. Lucas and I talked many times about when and how to go about taking his pacifier way. In the end we decided that we wanted to give Fletcher a lot of time to prepare for this transition. During a Christmas visit to our local amusement park, Liseberg, we saw kids putting their pacifiers in drop-off tubes. Out of context, this sounds a little strange. There is actually a tradition here in Gothenburg (and beyond) where you take your child to Bunny Land, which is a section of the amusement park for kids. The kids then get to donate their old pacifiers to the (imaginary) baby bunnies. They even have people dressed up as giant green bunnies as part of the Bunny Land fun. Naturally, all of the kids adore meeting the bunnies and giving them hugs.
When it comes to the actual donating of the pacifiers, there is a fun looking machine that sucks them up and "sends" them to Bunny Land -- where all of the baby bunnies live. All of this gives the parents the opportunity to help the child feel good about the transition.
We found with Fletcher, that this story encouraged him, made him feel important and a part of the process.
From December we talked about what we would do in May. We talked about what it might be like to not have a pacifier anymore. We talked about riding the rides as a reward because he was such a big boy now. We honestly talked about this in some form daily. Somedays he said he felt sad about it and other days he said he felt good about what he was going to do in May. It was on his mind a lot and a month beforehand, we made a countdown. He would also ask to see the calendar and we would countdown the days left.
When the day finally came, he was a little unsure about how things were going to unfold. We reassured him and walked him through what he was going to do. Once we got to Liseberg he was so distracted by all the people, rides and the fun atmosphere. Fletcher didn't even have a chance to over think things or get sad. We went straight to Bunny Land and found some of the people in bunny suits and their helpers --who took us over to the pacifier machine. He watched in awe as it all unfolded. His pacifier was sucked up and one of the big bunnies gave him a certificate. He was so proud.
Right after saying goodbye to his pacifier, it was ride time. He had a blast! That night and every night since -- no crying or fussing for his pacifier. I was a little worried and prepared for Fletcher to put up a fight and wake up a lot in the night crying for it. Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised. I think we will put it down to all that time spent preparing.
This is a big step for kids -- giving up their source of comfort. If you're thinking about how to help your little one make the transition, consider making up a story to encourage them and don't forget to give them plenty of time to prepare.
If you have already gone through this transition, what did you do to help your child through it?