Dummies. No, I’m not referring to our husbands. But rather the little lifesavers we all use to soothe and help settle our children to sleep.
After the lack of sleep, this topic is easily one of the most common conversations I have with Phonics parents who come to our classes so I figured it must be a worthwhile subject to share a blog about.
Alana, our eldest daughter, absolutely loved her dummy. We honestly thought we’d never be able to get her to give it up. She was addicted. We were worried that if we took it off her, she’d get withdrawal symptoms from going cold turkey! Every night in bed she had to have a dummy in her mouth and at least one other in her hand else she wouldn’t go to sleep. She needed one when she was playing. She needed one in the car. She needed one to watch TV. She even sometimes needed one in the bath. If it got to bedtime and we couldn’t find one, it felt like Doomsday. And is it just me or do they always seem to have a knack of going missing when you need them? Whose bright idea was it to make most dummies see-through? They’re literally invisible at night! We’d often have to turn our house upside down to find them.
When talking to one mum whose little girl also loved dummies, she mentioned that she had bought a book and a dummy fairy bag which had worked a dream. So of course, once our class had finished, I rushed straight home, logged onto Amazon and ordered one of each haha!
A few days later they were delivered - Alana loves collecting the post so she was super excited – and we opened the packages together. As we peeled away the wrapping, I started to explain the concept to Alana. Basically, the fairies collect dummies, so you have to put them in the bag and then the fairies leave you a gift in return to say thanks. Without hesitation, she immediately took out her dummy, put it in the bag, and then proceeded to gather up the rest of her dummies and put them in the bag too. I had not planned to try it so quickly, but I just went with the flow. Initially I had planned to just take them away for the day and give them back to her at night to gradually wean her off them, but after texting my family to let them know, they encouraged us to let the ‘fairies’ keep them for good, a thought which brought me out in sweats! It was easy for them to say, but it was us that would have to deal with the fallout. We decided to go for it.
After every sleep without a dummy, the ‘fairies’ would leave Alana a little present: a lolly, a sweetie, a chocolate (it’s a good job they weren’t tooth fairies!). They weren’t all sugary sweets, I promise! Sometimes it was a sticker or a little toy. Anything that would take her mind off the dummies! She would sometimes ask for her dummy, sometimes moan but miraculously we never had a full-blown meltdown, which stills shocks me to this day. Every time she would ask for them, we would remind her that she had given her dummies to the fairies and that they had given her a present. Sometimes we would have to go upstairs and look at the bag hanging on her door handle to remind her the fairies had her dummies, but she never once opened it to take her dummies out. I won’t lie, the first few nights weren’t amazing as they were Alana’s comfort blanket, but after the third night of me sitting with her, rubbing her back and explaining that her dummies were now with the fairies, she finally got it! I remember taking a photo of her asleep and sending it to Josh with such excitement (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Josh had been working away that week - what was I thinking?!).
So, for anyone who is in the same boat that we were in, it is possible. We didn’t think that boat would ever make it to the harbour. But it did. And you can get there too, I promise.
My top tips:
- Purchase a dummy fairy bag and book (See links below)
- Keep explaining that they have given the fairies their dummies.
- Stock up on treats.
- Be strong and DO NOT give in.
You’ve got this!!