So many parents struggle with deciding when they should take away their child’s pacifier, or as we call it in our house, “binky”. Before I had children, I would look at the 3 year old in the store with his binky in his mouth, and think “There is no way I am going to allow my kids to have a binky at that age!” Then my son, Caleb, came along… Caleb took to the binky immediately, and I was okay with that. I actually preferred he take a binky, as opposed to his thumb. My thoughts were that I could easily take his binky away when he turned one. If he had favored his thumb, things wouldn’t be so easy. And then he turned one and everything I had said about losing the binky after his first birthday went right out the window.
See Also: The Binky Bear: How we got rid of the binky
When To Take Away The Binky
Caleb’s binky was always his biggest comfort, along with his blanky of course. He simply couldn’t have one without the other. He was never a kid who needed to have his binky in his mouth 24/7 but it was always what he wanted if he got hurt or wasn’t feeling well. He also used it at nap time, bed time, and on long car rides. It made him happy and helped him feel better when he was upset, so when he turned one, the thought of taking away something that meant so much to him broke my heart. On top of that, Caleb’s little brother was born just a few months after his 1st birthday. My boys are only 15 months apart and I knew it would be even harder for Caleb to be without his binky when there was a new baby in the house who had one. So I let him keep it… And then he turned two… And then three… And then four…I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking “Four!? She let him keep his binky until he was four!?” Yup, I did… And I don’t regret it. The truth is that there really is no right answer to the question “when should I take my child’s binky away?” You have to do what you feel is the right thing for your child. For my son, I decided the right thing was for him to get rid of his binky when he decided he no longer needed it. I never pressured him but at around three and a half years old we started talking about the binky fairy and reading books about big kids not needing their binkies any more. Caleb liked all of the books and even the idea of the binky fairy. I really thought the binky fairy was going to be our out. He and I even made a box to put his binky in when he was ready for the binky fairy to come get it and bring it to a new baby and he was so excited about it. But, every night before bed, I would ask if he wanted to place his binky in the box and his response was always “Not tonight… Maybe tomorrow!” It wasn’t until I stumbled across the idea of a “Binky Bear” and showed it to Caleb, that he finally decided he was ready. One week after his fourth birthday, we took a trip to Build-A-Bear and Caleb made his “Binky Bear”. That night, he went to bed with his bear in his arms and that was it. No more binky…
5 Tips To Break The Binky Habit
Some parents find it easiest to take away their child’s binky cold turkey. They deal with a couple rough nights and then their done with it forever. That definitely works for some families but if that’s not the route you want to take and you decide that you want to try to help your child break their binky habit, there are a number of ways to do so.
- If your child is one to walk around with a binky in their mouth all day long, you should try to set limits to binky use. Naps, bed time, long car rides. A good rule to go by is that the binky must stay in your child’s room when you are home.
- Prepare your child for giving up their binky by introducing books about big kids no longer needing their binkies. Here are some great options:
- Tell your child that he/she is getting to be a big kid now and that they probably won’t be needing their binky much longer. Tell them that mailing their binky to new baby who could really use one is an option. If they fall for this, you could have your child color a picture for the new baby and write a little note together. Put the note and picture in an envelope, along with the binky and drop it in the mail box.
- Introduce the Binky Fairy. The binky fairy is a fairy that comes in the middle of night (much like the tooth fairy) and takes your child’s binky away, leaving a gift in exchange. There is a cute little book that goes along with this idea – Goodbye Binky
- Build a “Binky Bear”. A Binky Bear is stuffed animal made by your child at at Build-A-Bear workshop. Before the stuffed animal is stitched shut, your child places their binky inside it.
As I said, Caleb liked the idea of all the options listed above, but the one thing really helped us was the “Binky Bear”. I think that he really liked the idea of being able to keep his binky, even if he couldn’t use it anymore. It has been 4 months since Caleb gave up his binky and he still sleeps with his bear every night. I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! If you have any tips of your own, please share on either my Twitter or Facebook page. I’d love to hear them!