Little ones have a strong need for sucking and as they grow, they can naturally become very attached to a dummy or soother for comfort. And saying goodbye can be a big deal for most.
It is recommended that your little one stops using a soother around two years of age. This is because between the ages of 2-3years, sucking during the day (not just to fall asleep) can lead to dental problems and speech delays.
As with many comforts, the earlier you try to get rid of them, the easier time you will have – as little one’s grow, so does their attachment to their favourite items. Especially during nap time, the soother can become a crutch that, when it’s gone, gets in the way of important sleep time.
Let it go! (Did you just sing the frozen song in your head too?)
No matter what age your little one is when you decide to you wean your little one off their soother; keep a few important guidelines in mind.
Prepare them in advance
Your toddler is really attached and particular about their soother, so don’t expect them to go cold turkey! Even by the age of one, a child will understand enough to benefit from a heads up, so talk about the change with your little one for at least a few days before.
Involve them in the transition
Try to involve your little one in the transition so that they feel somewhat in control. You can create a ritual or “goodbye party”. Decorate a box together, put in the soothers, and post it to the smaller babies, or put it in an envelope overnight and replace it with a “big girl or big boy” gift for the next day (a la the tooth fairy).
Give them another crutch to fall asleep with
If your little ones uses their soother to fall asleep you might have to replace that comfort with another, such as a special teddy, or blanket. Prepare for some rough nights or nap times as they figure out how to sooth themselves to sleep in a new way. But don’t worry, they will.
Stick with it
Once you’ve said goodbye, it’s gone, never to be seen again. Eventually your little one will let go and move on. In the meantime, distraction may be key; toys or even the occasional treat.