There is nothing more likely to catapult an issue of child development or behaviour techniques into the news than for a celebrity's child to shine a light onto it. This week Harper Beckham using a dummy aged 4 has ignited a heated debate across the globe on the pros and cons of dummies.There is no question that dummies can help to calm or comfort a child and be their transitional object during uncertain times. However the opposite school of thought will say that sucking a dummy once teeth are appearing and speech is starting to develop (after approximately aged 1) can be detrimental to these processes. At Kids on Track we understand that children of all ages need a comforter and have seen huge benefit in dummies being used in certain situations. We also know that for children who have attachments to their dummies it can be very difficult for them to suddenly not be able to have a dummy anymore when the time is appropriate for them to outgrow it! ( This time may vary for every child but generally before they are in school) To help parents navigate this tricky milestone, we have developed a guide of 5 easy steps to weaning toddlers off their dummies:
1) Slowly minimise the amount of time that your child is allowed their dummy making it predominantly for sleep and settling purposes only.
2) Introduce a positive reinforcement system for your child when they don't ask for their dummy or give it up easily when you ask for it eg in the mornings.
3) Do not try to introduce dummy restrictions when your child is unwell or navigating changes in their lives which may make them unsettled eg: new baby, new house, new creche
4) Provide alternatives to your child at night time before the dummy is taken away eg: teddy bear, you lying with them for a short period of time
5) Involve your child in the process of getting rid of their dummies - let them hand it to you in the morning or throw it away when it is time to make them feel in control and understand that it is a huge milestone!