2 weeks ago we celebrated our son’s 4 ½ birthday. We don’t usually celebrate ½ birthdays (though I have aspirations to make a ½ cake one of these days). But it just so happened to be my birthday, mother’s day, and a glorious day outside and rather than focus on me, I wanted to focus on the family. It was a celebration for all! We had an awesome weekend filled with laughs, playing, and some spring gardening. And then it hit me.
My kid is 4 1/2, and he is still using a pacifier.
Now don’t get me wrong, he was only allowed to use it for bedtime, naptime, car rides, and the occasional airplane. He’s been off of his pacifier from nap time at school for months, and knows he really isn’t allowed to have it unless one of those specific times rolls around. He would often recite to us “Pacifiers are for bedtime and car.” We had a rhythm. So why didn’t we get rid of it sooner you ask? We are lazy.
No no, that’s probably not true (after all the definition of lazy and parenting are pretty much oxy morons). We more just always put this one in the pile of “I can’t fight this battle.” And we let it go. Our dentist told us it wasn’t a problem for his teeth until his big boy teeth came in. Our pediatrician told us to let it go when he was ready. Our friends and family were even supportive and understanding (at least to our faces). It was his lovey, and boy did he LOVE that pacifier. But it was time and we were ready, he never really was.
Before saying goodbye we did a whole bunch of research, read Wyatt books (like “Pacifiers are not Forever“), and talked to people we knew that went through similar situations. Taking a pacifier from a 4 year old was a bit tricky. He was emotionally attached to it since he was born and brought it everywhere (even if hidden in his packet to save for “bedtime or car”). After much research we whittled it down to 5 options that would let us say goodbye to the pacifier for good. Here they are!
1} Sending Your Pacifiers to the Clouds
This was a really cute idea. Essentially the idea behind it is you find every last pacifier in your house and tie them each to helium filled balloons. You then have a pacifier ceremony and release all of the pacifiers off to the storks or to the kids in heaven (whichever your choice)!
2} The Paci-Fairy
My brother and sister in law did this one and I loved the idea! Overnight the paci fairy (much like the tooth fairy) comes and takes away all of the pacifiers when you are sleeping. Be sure to talk to your child the night before and you can decorate your kids room with balloons and a thank you note from the fairy herself! It worked wonders for our family and I’m sure it will for you too!
3} Give Your Pacifiers to a new baby
Do you know a new baby being born or just recently born? This is another cute idea where you can package up all of the pacifiers and send them off (in either mail or bring them to the baby direct) since pacifiers are for babies and not big boys or girls.
4} Cut a hole in it
Seriously. If you cut a hole in all of the pacifiers they stop working and are harder to suck. We had tried this one and unfortunately for us our son wasn’t phased but I’ve heard many a family that this worked out great for!
This is the oldest trick in the book and our method of choice. Our son has always been one to be easily bribed, and we are not above bribing! So we gave our big guy the chance to “trade it in” for whatever he wanted and made a sticker chart for each night he slept without his pacifier. When the chart got to 7 days (1 week) he was rewarded with a new toy!
When times got rough (mostly at bedtime) I would pull out my phone and pull up amazon to look at toys that he was excited about. It quickly changed his bad mood and gave him a reason to remember why his pacifier was no longer there. We are now a month in and he’s down to asking for his pacifier only a few times a week and for the most part he doesn’t cry. He simply wonders where it is.