30/08/2014 23:33 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

How Old Is Too Old For A Dummy?

My daughter is nearly 4 and still has her dummy at night and is also allowed it after nursery (we have backtracked a bit on our night time only/dummy fairy visit on her third birthday). We have been telling her the dummy fairy will take her dummy away completely at 4, but with her birthday fast approaching we are not sure if we have the heart. She loves her dummy, only has it at home...would it really do her any harm to let her have it for a bit longer?

Here's life coach Joanne's reply:

Dear Jan

I have to confess that I had the same situation when my daughter was coming up to four and still had a dummy - and it backfired, big style! She started saying she didn't want to become four, didn't want to grow up, in fact she would rather be dead - all because she didn't like what she'd heard about four year olds not having dummies.

It's not surprising that children get so attached to their noo noos, if they've had them for years and never had to find another way to get to sleep. But once you teach her to settle herself to sleep, you'll be giving her a gift for life.

Ultimately it's your choice as a parent. If you're happy with it, then the age that others use a dummy at is irrelevant. But if you don't get rid of it now, when will you? You'll have to bite the bullet at some time - if you wait for your daughter to give it up of her own accord, you'll be waiting a long time.

There are lots of ideas here about how to get rid of dummies. However you do it, you as a parent have to be ready to give up relying on the dummy before you ever expect your child to. Be prepared for some broken nights before you get there. Perhaps in your situation a good interim step would be to stop it after nursery and keep dummies for in bed at night only.

And how did we get there with our nearly four year old? I resorted to the very unsophisiticated option of old fashioned bribery. Every time we were in a shop, and she showed an interest in some piece of blingy girl-tat, I would say "You can have that if you swap it for your dummies". Eventually we hit on the thing that she wanted more than the dummies. I think she knew the end was nigh, and decided to get out whilst the going was good. And so, with the aid of a (frankly hideous) furry hot water bottle cover in the shape of a chicken, we were dummy slaves no more.

Good luck, however you decide to do it.

all the best


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