Pacifiers and Security Blankets
Is someone (most likely your mother-in-law) telling you that your child is too old to still be sucking on a pacifier or clutching a security blanket? If so, don’t let them push you into forcing your little one to give up the cherished item.
It isn’t easy being a small child in a great big world. Consequently, young children experience a fair amount of stress every day. Just like we have to deal with traffic, bills, unreasonable bosses, etc., infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have their own set of difficult situations and daunting requirements.
As adults, we have many options available for relieving our stress. But the choices young children have are considerably more limited, and sucking on the pacifier or nuzzling the blanket often are the only stress-relievers available. And if you make a big deal out of it and force your child to refrain, you are merely increasing her stress and leaving her with no opportunity to alleviate it.
So first of all, be patient. As your child gets older, she will find other ways to deal with her stress. And as peer relationships become increasingly important, she will be motivated to pursue those other options and give up the more infantile ones.
Meanwhile, make sure your child’s other opportunities for stress reduction are maximized. Just like pursuing an enjoyable hobby or engaging in vigorous physical exercise works for you, taking a class and/or doing Open Gym at Romp n’ Roll will work wonders for her and may very well reduce and shorten her dependence on the pacifier or security blanket.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.