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How can I break the pacifier habit?


My 4 ½ year-old daughter insists on using the pacifier when she is at home, but doesn’t need it at preschool or when playing with friends. How can I help her feel more secure so that she will give this up?


Use of a pacifier at your daughter’s age is very unusual, and is based more on habit than need. She may be unlikely to give this up for quite some time but here are two strategies that will work.

You could use a gradual approach, restricting your daughter’s use of a pacifier to certain times of the day or locations. Over the next several days, increase those restrictions (e.g., allowed only in the bedroom) and eventually prohibit the pacifier completely.

Other parents prefer a more aggressive approach. They inform their child that on a certain date the pacifier will no longer be available under any circumstances. After a few days, most children adjust just fine.

There is no best approach for all children. Do what works best for your family.


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