Is your child so attached to his binkie that you worry he’ll head off to college with the darn thing? Relax: There are ways to separate them. Now. Moms share what worked for them.
Donate them (so to speak). "I created a ‘letter’ from my son’s favorite cartoon characters that we put in an envelope and slid into our mail. The letter explained that pacifiers were needed for baby animals at a far-away zoo. I packed all of the pacifiers in a box and told my son I’d mail them off for the baby animals. After that it just took a reminder that we’d given the pacifiers to the baby animals. Soon he quit asking for his."
—Stacey Sphieler, mom of one, Jackson, Mississippi
Try the-dog-ate-my-pacifier trick. "When I thought my daughter was old enough to give up pacifiers, I took them away and told her the dog ate them. After that, if she asked for a pacifier, I’d just say, ‘Oh, sorry; the dog chewed them all up.’ She thought it was funny and just let it go after a few days. The key is to be consistent: Once you take away the pacifiers, keep them away."
–Tiffany Morris, mom of two, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Put them out of commission. "We tried everything with my daughter—big girl ceremonies, bribes, sending them off to other babies—and nothing worked. One day, when she wasn’t looking, I cut a tiny slit in each of her pacifiers. After that, they stopped making the desirable sucking noise. She declared them ‘broken’ and threw them away herself."
—Catherine Calhoun, mom of two, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Blame the great outdoors. "When we decided it was time for my daughter to stop using a pacifier, we stopped buying new ones so her collection dwindled. Then, when she left the very last one in the backyard, we told her squirrels had carried it away. I didn’t feel bad about the little fib—she was way too old for pacifiers at that point."
–Renee Cole, mom of four, Lombard, Illinois
Do it on vacation. "When my oldest daughter was about 2, we went on a family vacation and I ‘forgot’ to take the pacifiers with me. She was upset, but there were plenty of grandparents and cousins to distract her. It didn’t take her long to adjust to sleeping without one, and she never went back."
–Kelly Clower, mom of two, Ft. Worth, Texas