18 April 2016

How to get your toddler to give up their dummy using imagination

Our daughter was always a bit of an dummy-addict, pretty much from birth. As she was nearly three we figured it was time to get rid of the dummy as we were getting worried it might affect her teeth. She loved her dummy, really loved it. So to get her to give it up without too many tears we figured we should use a bit of imagination.... Using a bit of story-telling and imagination we got our toddler daughter to give her dummies away, all by herself, and be happy about it too. And it was fun for us parents too!


toddler with treasure chest

toddler girl with treasure chest



Our grand story was that baby hedgehogs needed dummies. They were crying all night as they didn't have any dummies. They couldn't sleep and mummy hedgehog needed our help. 

Our daughter was very concerned, and of course, we suggested she could give her dummies to the baby hedgehogs as she was a big girl and babies need dummies. She took that on her stride so we continued the story and reminded her every once in a while that baby hedgehogs needed her help. "Mummy hedgehog, need-a-my-help! Baby hedgehog crying!" she would exclaim back.  





About a week before "the big event" we started talking about baby hedgehogs every day, reminding her how they needed her help, and what a big girl she was by giving her dummies to them. And every night we would remind her that soon we should give the crying baby hedgehogs dummies, as their mummy was very tired and she couldn't get them to sleep without dummies. I also suggested mummy hedgehog would be very grateful and wanted to leave her a gift - our daughter said she would like a Paw Patrol gift (her current favourite TV show). 

So off we went, on Mother's Day, to the woods to take dummies to baby hedgehogs. We packed the dummies to a little treasure chest, and went for a walk. "Mummy hedgehog, need-a-my-help! Baby hedgehog need a dummy!" she was telling us. As we found a good little spot, we left the treasure chest, full of dummies for mummy hedgehog to come and collect. Daddy spotted some horses and the two of them went off for a walk... So the real mummy could swap the dummies for the gift from mummy hedgehog!


using imagination to get your toddler to give up their dummy











Oh the look on her face when she saw mummy hedgehog had visited and brought her a gift! She accepted the loss of dummies quite well, although we did have to remind her baby hedgehogs had them now. 

The night time after giving away the dummies was a bit difficult, and it took her a long time to fall asleep. We had to give her lots of extra cuddles in the night time, and told her the story again and again. We told her that mummy hedgehog gave her the soft toy so she could cuddle it when sleeping. Bless her little face, she cried a bit and talked about baby hedgehogs and her dummies, and hugged her new toy extra tight. 


toddler with skye puppy soft toy from paw patrol




Every night for the following week we always told her the same story about how she had been such a big girl to give her dummies away to help mummy hedgehog, and how mummy hedgehog was so grateful and gave her a toy as a gift. She cried only on the first night, and it took a bit longer for her to fall asleep the following nights, but soon she got over the whole thing. Now, about a month after the event she still sometimes talks about baby and mummy hedgehogs, and dummies, but she falls asleep fine and doesn't seem to be too bothered about her dummies. 

So overall, it went really well. We had a bit of fun, she got to give her dummies away in a very noble way, and we are a dummy-free household now!

Top tips:
  • Begin talking about the story a week in advance to prepare the toddler for it. 
  • Go for the altruistic streak so they can be the hero... Like giving dummies away to baby animals, be that hedgehogs, squirrels, owls or even reindeers over Christmas time!
  • Swap the dummies for a gift - something cuddly so they can have it at night and remember they got the soft toy now instead of dummies. 
  • Have fun but be prepared for tears and some extra cuddles and attention!

How have you got your children to give up their dummies? Was it difficult?



17 comments:

  1. We had a similar story - Pierre gave his dummies to the baby reindeer who were sad when their parents were out all night delivering presents with Santa. Obviously, he got a little thank you note from Santa in his stocking that year which made him very proud ! #whatevertheweather

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    1. Aww that is such a sweet story :) and perfect for Christmas time! Glad it went well for you too :) I suppose we could have tied this to Easter too, like Easter bunnies or chicks had we waited a bit longer.

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  2. Our girls didn't have dummies, not for any reason just that they didn't seem to need them. I love this idea and I will definitely be sharing it with friends who have children with dummies. What a big girl she was and not to much trouble adjusting which was fab x #WhatevertheWeather

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    1. Mine was just an absolute dummy addict, she would not want to give them up. She loved them from a newborn. Funny how kids can be so different isn't it!

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  3. This is brilliant. I love this idea!!!! I have friends with little ones who struggle to stop using dummies, I'm going to share this with them because they're at a loss of what to do. I think it's such a sweet idea and such a kind imaginative act to do. I'm glad she's sleeping ok for you, my daughter is attached to a bear and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have to give this away. Your pictures are so gorgeous too. Thank you so much for sharing this with Whatever The Weather xx

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    1. Ah thank you and I hope it'll help your friends! It took a bit of time, and persuasion, but we didn't experience much tears so I would say for us this was a great success :) Hopefully it'll go well for your friends too :)

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  4. I love this, it's incredibly sweet and a fantastic idea to banish the dummies. Poor baby hedgehogs, they will be very happy with their dummies. Great gift in return too, my boys love Paw Patrol. Good to hear that she's sleeping ok now without them. Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

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    1. Ha ha I think everyone loves Paw Patrol now... Well, everyone except adults ha ha who see it for the merchandise selling enterprise it is :D They are pretty cute but gosh do they come with a lot of bits and bobs to buy!

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  5. such a clever idea and a wonderful story. I really think you should write a children's book with this one, I was quite gripped reading it. Sometimes a little imagination and a different tactic is the best approach. Your photos fit the story so well, get it out there before someone takes your idea! So pleased it really did work, I do like a happy ending. Thank you so much for sharing with me on #CountryKids

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    1. Ah thank you :) Maybe I will maybe I will... one day :) I am really please how well it went, she didn't seem too fussed in the end and even though it clearly was a big step for her, she was very brave about it. Thank you for hosting :)

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  6. I never had this issue as i never gave Holly a dummy. But have seen some super cool ways to get the kids to give them up. this is a new one but still awesome!
    Great post!
    Lx
    Http://workingmumy.blogspot.com
    #CountryKids

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    1. Thank you :) I did have a look at a few ways, and I also read about a few different story lines to use. Lots to choose from!

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  7. Oh I love this. What a really great idea. Fab pictures too. I hope that having no dummies continues to go ok :-) x

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    1. Thank you :) thankfully it has gone really well, and she has only once or twice been asking for them. So we just reminded her baby hedgehogs have them now :D

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  8. sorry should have put #countrykids

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  9. Aww what a sweet idea! We had a visit from the "dummy fairy" :)

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    1. A dummy fairy - that's a good one too :) seen some children's books about dummy fairies so reading those at night time would probably help in getting the kid into it :)

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