Pacifiers and giving them up

In the toddler rooms, there is, on occasion, children who still need that pacifier. We quickly ween them off of them. Why? Because the purpose of a pacifier is to be a soother. At two, the children should be able to sooth themselves. It also gets in the way of language development.
Here are my rules for children with pacifiers;
1. When you are done soothing yourself, it goes away. This means that you are no longer sucking on it and don't need the security of it. I have been known to allow them to carry it in their pocket; after all, I let them keep a blanket close buy or any other lovie if they need it. In the classroom I always have a cup with their name on it at their level so that they can put it away and get it on their own. I also only allow one pacifier in the room per child.
2. Once we get past the first few weeks, they only get it at drop off and nap. Plus, since it is only to be used to soothe, you can only be in the soft area with it. This is where children go who are crying and upset to calm back down. If you want to come out, you have to give up the pacifier. At nap time, it will be waiting for you on your bed. Once you get off your bed, it goes away.
3. You may not use it while talking. It must come out of your mouth if you want to talk to me. You can stick it back in after you get done, but not while talking.
4. The pacifier is a tool to be used only to help calm back down and focus. If a child needs to use it during circle because they get too fidgety otherwise, that's okay. It really is based on each individual child's need.
So, here is what a typical drop off looks like for a child with a pacifier;
Johnny comes in (usually with pacifier in mouth). Mom says goodbye and he is upset. Johnny goes to the soft area to read a book while calming down. Once he is calm, Johnny gets up and walks over to the cups, finds his name (and picture) and puts his pacifier in the cup. He pretty much doesn't use it again until nap time.
At nap time, the pacifier is waiting for him. After a few weeks, Johnny will walk right in the classroom and immediately put the pacifier in the cup without needing it to separate from mom. After he has mastered this we "forget" to put it on his bed. Most times he won't even notice or say anything. If he does ask for it, the first few days we may get it. After that, we will work with him on falling asleep without it; this usually doesn't involve anything more than rubbing his back which we would do anyway (with or without the pacifier).
At the point which he is napping without the pacifier, this is where we tell the parent that she no longer needs to bring it in. This is always a bit nerve wracking for them; but they will quickly see that he really doesn't need it. Especially if you can show her that he puts it away right when he walks in and that he doesn't use it at nap either.
Also know that, typically, the child will use it at home a bit longer than he will at school.
How do you treat pacifiers at your center?

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

I think the cup is a fantastic idea - it gives the child the security of knowing where the soother will be, therefor allowing them to need it less.