Charles Schulz’s Linus famously carries around a security blanket while sucking on his thumb. Rosie from Rug Rats always has her pacifier with her. My own children loved their “binkies.” Little ones often carry around their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier. They are certainly very cute when they hug their blanket or toy animal. They are also quite adorable when they seek comfort from a pacifier—a much-needed item for a crying baby! But when is it time for you to wean your child off of these beloved items?
Did you know that pacifiers are a pre-disposing factor for ear infections in children who have recurrent ear infections? Some children have sucked on their security blankets for so long that doctors have actually had to remove blanket fragments from their lungs! I know these are extreme incidents that are not common. However, I still think that we should try to break these habits in our children as early as possible.
As the parent, you are the best one to decide when the time has come to wean your children off of these items. Every child has different emotional needs. Some may need to make the transition later than the recommended age. However, pediatric dentists recommend limiting pacifier time once a child turns two and eliminating it entirely by age four to avoid dental problems.
I was very fortunate because my neighbor’s dog chewed up my son’s pacifier. All I had to do was offer him the chewed pacifier and tell him what had happened. Since it was the only one we had, that was the end of that! (It really did look disgusting.) He was thoroughly repulsed, and after about two days, he never asked for it again.
We need to reinforce our children’s security in Jesus and build that cornerstone of faith. I believe the sooner, the better! 1 Peter 2:8 tells us, “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”