Breaking the Pacifier Habit - FamilyEducation

Breaking the Pacifier Habit

Follow these tips for weaning your preschooler off the pacifier.

Most pacifiers are now designed with orthodontia in mind. They will not do any damage to the alignment of your child's teeth. So why make a point of asking your preschooler to stop using a pacifier? In time, your child will probably give it up on her own to avoid being labeled a "baby" by other children or by insensitive adults.

However, if you can't wait to wean your preschooler from her beloved pacifier:

  • Give your child one last pacifier and let her know that when this one gets lost or worn out, you won't replace it. This will give her time to get used to the idea—and to guard that pacifier with her life.
  • Lose it. Accidentally leave the pacifier behind somewhere and put off getting a new one. Your preschooler may find that she doesn't really need it anymore.
  • Try soaking the pacifier in vinegar or something else that tastes sour or bitter.
  • Give up television for a week, because most preschoolers who still use pacifiers use them primarily when watching TV and when going to sleep. Find more active ways to occupy your child's time—activities that require her to use both of her hands.
  • If your child is ready to give up her afternoon nap, give up the pacifier at the same time. Your child will be much more tired at night, and may therefore fall asleep more easily without the pacifier.