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Posted:
08/24/10

Tips For Beating the “Binky Blues”

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If your child is a die-hard pacifier enthusiast, you may be wondering if she will ever kick the habit once and for all! Most pediatric dentists agree that your child should be through with relying on a binky by the time her permanent teeth start erupting. If she doesn’t, proper mouth and jaw formation and teeth alignment could be greatly compromised. So how do you help her to give up this source of comfort as easily as possible and without too much drama? Here are some tips.

Let nature take its course: Many toddlers and young children will simply give up using a binky on their own. This is, of course, the best case scenario! Since there is no real harm until permanent teeth start coming in, sometimes a parent being patient is all it takes. Nagging does more harm than good: never belittle your child.

“Big Kids” don’t use a pacifier: If your child goes to daycare or if she is just starting preschool, you may want to casually point out that “big kids” who go to school don’t take their binkies with them. She may decide on her own that this is a turning point in her young life and that she wants to be a “big kid” too. You can expect her to regress a few times till she gets used to the idea, so don’t nag: long term success with this method depends on quitting being “her” idea.

Wean her off gently: Once your child reaches a certain age, start setting time limits on when she can use her binky. For example, if she depends on it to help her get to sleep, only let her have it at bedtime. When you want her to quit at bedtime too, substitute the binky for a much-desired new toy or stuffed animal to help her through the transition.

Positive reinforcement works: Instead of nagging a child about binky use, make sure to praise her or give her some other type of reward when you notice her not relying on it in situations where she normally would. This will help her to feel good about herself and reinforce her not being dependent on the binky.

Going “cold turkey” with binky use against your child’s will can be downright traumatic and will foster resentment if not outright rebellion! Try to see things from her perspective; be sympathetic and understanding and allow her to have some measure of control in the habit-breaking process. If any of the above methods don’t work for her, be sure to contact a good Utah pediatric dentist like Berg Children’s┬áDentistry for advice and suggestions on strategy.

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