Babies and toddlers

Ditch the Dummy: 9 Tips to Help Your Toddler

Is your toddler still reliant on a dummy? Try not to worry as you’re not the only one! You can help them to ditch the dummy… it’s not an impossible task!

A recent study revealed that almost two-thirds of youngsters aged 12-18 months still use a dummy. That doesn’t mean you should give up trying to get your child to ditch the dummy, though. There are many methods to help you get your toddler on their way towards ditching the dummy and finding comfort elsewhere.

Here are nine tips that could support you to stop your toddler from being so reliant on their dummy.

Tip #01: Give Your Toddler A Choice Of Something Else To Put In Their Mouths

If you breastfed your child, you will probably remember what it was like when they were cutting their teeth. They bit down and would try to get some sort of relief from the pain by doing so. If you think your toddler might be using their dummy for teething pain relief, try a teething toy instead.

Tip #02: Do Not Give Them Dummies

This may not work for some toddlers, but it can be worth a try. A lot of parents find their toddlers will start using the dummy again if they give them one. It is essential to remember that even though dummies are helpful when babies are teething, they can cause speech problems when toddlers are using them, particularly if they have free access.

Tip #03: Be Patient

If your toddler is having a hard time giving up the dummy for good, be patient. It may take some time to get them off of it, and they might need help from their parents.

Tip #04: Give Them A Reward When They Ditch The Dummy

You could give them a sticker for every time they give up their dummy or give them a special toy. This will show your toddler that you are proud of them.

Tip #05: Offer A Drink Of Water Or Milk

Do this before sleep time, so they are not thirsty during the night and want to reach for their dummy instead.

Tip #06: Try Giving Them Something Else To Suck 

For example, like ice cubes (be mindful of the size, of course) or frozen fruit (without sugar) – this way you can wean them off the dummy without them even noticing.

Tip #07: Dummy Free Time

Put them in the cot or bed without it for a while and then remove it later on that night. This way, they will be more willing to sleep without their dummy when you put it back in again at bedtime.

Tip #08: Go Cold Turkey 

Give up the dummies once and for all. Throw all the dummies out, so that you’re not tempted back into giving them one! Get yourself prepared: stock up on some good distractions (like books, puzzles or games) So when those inevitable moments of annoyance from your toddler (at the lack of a dummy) crop up, you can distract them with something else.

Tip #09: Create A Reward System. 

If your child is on the verge of quitting, create a reward system for them to motivate them and encourage their progress. There are tonnes of printable reward charts you can find online or you could make your own.

I’m not saying that removing the dummy will be an easy endeavour, but it could well change your child’s life for the better! My partner’s daughter would walk and talk with hers in her mouth. At almost three, this was impacting on her speech (and still does actually), so we encouraged her to ditch the dummy. One day, the dummy was ‘lost’. She didn’t need it at all. Her speech improved dramatically and people could understand her much better.

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