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Like all habits, the binky is a tough one to kick. To help your toddler (and yourself!) get through the agonizing withdrawal try any of these 10 quirky solutions that worked for other parents and experts whose kids are now happily pacifier-free.
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1: Introduce the binky fairy
Much like the tooth fairy, the binky fairy picks up all the old pacifiers and exchanges them for a new toy. Mom and child psychologist Dr. Aimee Kotroba used this method with her daughter. The Paci Fairy sent [my daughter] a letter a week before the big day, letting her know that she would be coming and to leave the pacifiers out. We also put up a calendar for her to mark off days each night to get her excited. On the big day, we took the pacifiers from her desk after she went to sleep and left a bike for her with a note from the fairy telling her how proud everyone is of how big she is getting, and letting her know that the pacifiers went to a new baby that needed them. She was sad for a few days but quickly got over it.
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2: Send them off with balloons
Balloons are a creative way to give pacifiers the grand send-off they deserve. Mom Elaine Masters told her son two weeks in advance that they would be sending his binkies to the angels, who would give them to children in need. Said Masters, It was a sunny Sunday morning and I had three large helium balloons tied with ribbon. We walked outside together and gently tied a binky to each ribbon, released them and said goodbye. She admits there were a few rough nights afterward, but she kept reminding her son his binkies were with children who needed them, and after three rough days he moved on.
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3: Call on Santa
Mom Sheila Curran Sheley used Christmas as a way to break her three-year-old daughter of her binky habit. "I told my daughter that if she left her pacifiers out on Christmas Eve, Santa would take them to babies who needed them and leave her some big girl toys instead," said Sheley. "This worked great, since I was buying her toys for Christmas anyway, and she seemed to really buy into the idea that they were going to some unfortunate baby who didn't have any pacifiers."
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4: Throw a big kid party
Sometimes all a toddler needs to make the transition to big kid-hood is a party. Mother of three Denise Bellis threw a big-kid party for all of her children when they were around two and a half. We talked about the day two weeks in advance: we talked about what being a big girl or big boy' meant (getting rid of the pacifier) and how we would celebrate the 'big boy/girl day' like a birthday. We invited guests and had a rite of passage celebration. They were all extremely proud of their accomplishment and never looked back.
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5: Call in the professionals
When mom Eileen Wolter wanted to help her son get rid of the binky, she enlisted help from an authority figure. She had her doctor write her son a prescription saying that he didn't need the binky anymore. It worked. Her son gave up his binky immediately. If your child is enamored with police officers or firemen, you can also try enlisting their help in convincing your child that they're too big for binkies.
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6: Break it
Dr. Grace Yum, a pediatric dentist, often recommends that parents deflate the pacifier so that when the child uses it there is no suction. Notes Dr. Yum, The child will know that it is broken and will lose interest in the binky. Get creative and tell your child that the binky loses its power for big kids or that a little baby mouse wanted the binky and started chewing on it. Just make sure the child doesnt have a stash of binkies hidden around the house!
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7: Give positive reinforcement
Sometimes the simplest way really is the best way. Dad David Gassman noted that as his daughter grew into a toddler, he began to praise her for throwing things away. Finally, when it came time to give up the binky, he told her that since she was a big girl, she could throw her binkies away. She thought about it for a second and took it out of her mouth and dropped in the trash. Of course we went through the rest of the house and collected any that may be lying around, kept them for a few days, but she never asked for it again, said Gassman.
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If your toddler is a budding lawyer, try appealing to their reasonable side. When mother of eight Ellen Baranowski couldnt get her daughter to give up her binky she finally tried to reason with her. Even as a toddler, my daughter was always up for negotiations, so I asked her what she wanted for the pacifier. She said she wanted a doll with real hair and brown hair and brown eyes, like her. So thats what we did. One morning, we handed her the doll, she handed us her pacifiers and she never looked back. Sometimes, you just have to play to your kids strengths.
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9: Stage a collection
If your child is a budding philanthropist, enlist a neighbor and have them come to your door asking for pacifier donations. Explain to your child that the pacifiers are for little boys and girls who dont have any. Dr. Lynda Veto, a psychiatrist and mom, used this technique with her son. Her son actually came to the door and gathered all of his binkies and handed them to the neighbor. She now recommends this method to all her patients.
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10: Reinvent the binky
Reinvent the binky as a stuffed animal. Take your child to a Build-a-Bear store or buy a stuffed animal, undo the seam, and have your child place the binky inside before you sew it back up. Mom Nicole Potter swears by this method. My daughter put the binky in the stuffed animal, then a heart, and a voice box. [She] watched it get sewn up and then she got to pick out an outfit for her bear. That was the end of her binky.
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