Believe me I never thought I would have almost four-year-olds hooked on their “binkies!” As a nanny, I encouraged parents to get their babies off their pacifiers by the time they were one. And when I passed kids on the sidewalk with a pacifier hanging out their mouth passed the age of about 18 months I would cringe! Yet, almost four years later my girls are still obsessed with them. Funny how things change when you are the parent!
We started allowing pacifiers only at naptime and bedtime around the time my girls turned two, with the exception of long car rides when we wanted to encourage sleeping. This has worked well, for the most part. There are still days they say they are going to their rooms to get a toy and come out with a binky, but they are immediately sent back. This has been good for us, but now that they are turning four, I think they definitely need to stop relying on their beloved binkies to go to sleep. And my husband and I will be more than thrilled to not have to get up in the middle of the night to find a lost binky!
This, however, has really been the only issue with the pacifiers. There was never any “nipple confusion,” there have been absolutely no delays in language, they have never had an ear infection, and their teeth are fine (all common worries of using pacifiers too long). So we never saw any reason to take the binkies away, especially when they went to bed so easily with them. But enough is enough already…
Plus, I have a lot of mom friends in the same predicament. It’s amazing how common it is for preschoolers to still love their pacifiers. But, like us, pretty much everyone we know only allows pacifiers at bedtime and is afraid to take it away and fight going to sleep at night. So, I have been researching ways to take the binky away, gently.
Here are a few good articles with great info on pacifiers and ideas for getting your child off of them:
- Bye Bye Binky from Parents.com
- 10 Ways To Help Your Child Give Up The Pacifier from Baby Center.com
- Bye Bye Binky – Bothersome Behaviors from Ask Dr. Sears
Since my girls’ 4th birthday is coming up in February we have decided to take them to Build-A-Bear (where they have never been, but have seen and want to go) to let them pick out a stuffed animal and then while adding the stuffing we will also add their binkies. This way they get a new stuffed animal to cuddle with at night (the trade-in method), which also holds their prized possession, so they have them in theory but not actually in their mouths. They are very excited about the idea…I will write a follow-up post after the big event to see how it actually works out! Wish us luck!
And as a follow-up to my post last week about starting “quiet time” instead of nap time… we were only able to try it out two days because of other things going on, but both times were a challenge. They were not crazy about the idea of being alone in their room, despite the fact that they got to play with whatever they wanted to and didn’t have to share with their sister. \On the second day one of my daughters kept screaming, “Mom, can we get out of time out now???” They totally did not get it. We will keep working on it…