From: Elizabeth Keeling – Toddler Room

Tip: Top Tips on Dumping the Dummy for Good!

For many parents, a dummy is an absolute life-saver. It can pacify your little one with ease and are often implemented by parents to comfort young babies, either at night to settle, or during the day to make their baby feel a bit more relax. The decision as to whether a baby has a dummy or not must, of course, lie with the parent but it is our role as early years practitioners to provide parens with relevant information, guidance and support on the disadvantages of dummies and the difficulties that arise because of prolonged dummy usage.

Dummies have a huge impact on the articulation of speech and distort vocalisation, preventing babies from babbling or making cooing noises and toddlers from having conversations. When a child tries to talk around a dummy, air escapes through the sides of the tongue, which leads to development of ‘slushy’ or lisping speech sounds. There is also substantial evidence to suggest that the use of dummies can lead to dental deformation, middle ear infections and the stunting of wider development. 

That being said, we all know just how difficult it can be to get a child to give up their dummy after they have become dependant on it. 

Following feedback from parents asking for help and advice on this subject, I’ve outlined a few tips and tricks below to help you get your child to dump their dummy – for good!

  1. The Dummy Fairy – Similar to the tooth fairy, the dummy fairy will come and take away your child’s dummy and, in return, leave a little reward. We recommend plotting a date that the ‘dummy fairy’ will come, giving you time to prep your child for the big day. 
  2. Withdrawal Plan – Set out a clear structure and timeframe of when you aim to have your child completely dummy-free. The first few days you could start by removing the dummy when engaging in conversation to encourage them to speak properly without the dummy in their mouth. This can then escalate to no dummy in the day at all, just at night to help them to sleep. The withdrawal of the dummy will escalate higher and higher throughout the time frame leaving you towards the end of the plan having your child very rarely using the dummy, if at all. 
  3. The Dummy Box – When your child wakes in the morning, place the dummy in a box in a high place, on a shelf or on top of a cupboard, for example. This will help you both to avoid using it to get through the day. If they ask for it, explain that the dummy is used for bed time and offer a cuddle instead to relax their nervousness. 

Of course, we are here to help you every step of the way. It is ultimately a parents decision on when is the right time to start to ween their child off dummies but if you do need any extra help or guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by speaking to any member of staff or contacting Ian on hello@firststepspoynton.co.uk