9 Signs of a Gifted Child

9-signs-of-a-gifted-child

Being the parent of and raising a gifted child can be very exciting and rewarding — yet just as daunting as well. But first, how do you as a parent recognize the signs of a gifted child? Definitions and perceptions of what exactly constitutes a gifted child vary among those experts in this field of child development and education.

Gifted children will generally not only require some modifications to the teaching they receive, but will also require parenting modification as well in order to develop optimally. Many times because gifted children will still develop physically and emotionally at an average rate, this will present some interesting dilemmas for both parents and teachers.

However, as with any child that would have special needs, early recognition and proper intervention play a key role in supporting a gifted child.

Some early signs of giftedness may include:

  1. Has an advanced specific talent with numbers and math or perhaps can draw exceptionally realistic pictures.
  2. Early and advanced language, vocabulary, and memory skills.
  3. An advanced or intense sense of curiosity.
  4. A long attention span.
  5. High level of activity (although hyperactive children display high levels of activity, theirs is usually one combined with a short attention span).
  6. Reaches child development skills well ahead of their peers.
  7. Functions at a high level not needing as much sleep (infancy).
  8. At an early age easily reacts to (recognize) their caregiver.
  9. At some point the child may begin to sense they are different and display signs of withdrawal.

The child could possibly show signs of frustrations as their ability to express themselves (emotional development) isn’t on par with their mental capabilities. Frequent anger and frustration is a watch point, and could warrant seeking professional advice.

If your child consistently exhibits several of these characteristics (if your child is gifted, many of these characteristics go hand in hand) you may want to have your child assessed by a child development professional.


5 Steps to Raising Optimistic Children

5-steps-to-raising-optimistic-children

Why should you want your child to be an optimist? Because, as Dr. Martin Seligman explains: “Pessimism (the opposite of optimism) is an entrenched habit of mind that has sweeping and disastrous consequences: depressed mood, resignation, underachievement and even unexpectedly poor physical health.”

Children with optimistic thinking skills are better able to interpret failure, have a stronger sense of personal mastery and are better able to bounce back when things go wrong in their lives.

Because parents are a major contributor to the thinking styles of their children’s developing minds, it is important to adhere to the following five steps to ensure healthy mental habits in your children.

How Parents Can Help

Step 1: Learn to think optimistically yourself. What children see and hear indirectly from you as you lead your life and interact with others influences them much more than what you try to ‘teach’ them.

You can model optimism for your child by incorporating optimistic mental skills into your own way of thinking. This is not easy and does not occur over night. But with practice, almost everyone can learn to think differently about life’s events – even parents!

Step 2: Teach your child that there is a connection between how they think and how they feel. You can do this most easily by saying aloud how your own thoughts about adversity create negative feelings in you.

For example, if you are driving your child to school and a driver cuts you off, verbalize the link between your thoughts and feelings by saying something like “I wonder why I’m feeling so angry; I guess I was saying to myself: ‘Now I’m going to be late because the guy in front of me is going so darn slow. If he is going to drive like that he shouldn’t drive during rush hour. How rude.’”

Step 3: Create a game called ‘thought catching.’ This helps your child learn to identify the thoughts that flit across his or her mind at the times they feel worst. These thoughts, although barely noticeable, greatly affect mood and behavior.

For instance, if your child received a poor grade, ask: “When you got your grade, what did you say to yourself?”

Step 4: Teach your child how to evaluate automatic thoughts. This means acknowledging that they things you say to yourself are not necessarily accurate.

For instance, after receiving the poor grade your child may be telling himself he is a failure, he is not as smart as other kids; he will never be able to succeed in school, etc. Many of these self-statements may not be accurate, but they are ‘automatic’ in that situation.

Step 5: Instruct your child on how to generate more accurate explanations (to themselves) when bad things happen and use them to challenge your child’s automatic but inaccurate thoughts. Part of this process involves looking for evidence to the contrary (good grades in the past, success in other life areas, etc).

Another skill to teach your child to help him or her think optimistically is to ‘decatastrophize’ the situation – that is – help your child see that the bad event may not be as bad or will not have the adverse consequences imagined. Few things in life are as devastating as we fear, yet we blow them up in our minds.

Parents can influence the thinking styles of their children by modeling the principals of optimistic thinking.


Family Talk – The Art of Getting Your Kids to Talk to You

family-talk-the-art-of-getting-your-kids-to-talk-to-you

Being a parent isn’t easy. Some days just getting everyone in your family all together at the same time for dinner can seem like the “impossible dream”. Between after school sports and clubs and working and errands and carpools, it’s not surprising that almost half of the parents in a recent survey said they feel a growing distance between themselves and their children.

Today’s children have more things to deal with than kids did even twenty years ago. Drugs, violence, mixed messages in advertising, peer pressure, packed schedules and outside activities all add to the pressure they face.

So how, in the midst of all this chaos, do you find time to talk to your kids — and more importantly, have them talk back to you?

Here are several ideas that can help:

  1. Eat dinner together as a family at least three times a week. Conversations flow easier when they happen around the dinner table. If your family is conversationally-challenged in the beginning, think of conversation starters before each meal. Plan a family vacation, letting each child talk about where they’d like to go, or what they’d like to do. Talk about current events, the latest movies or upcoming special events. Ask your children open-ended questions that have to be answered with more than yes or no.
  2. Turn off the outside world. Set aside “family time” each night and have everyone turn off their phones, the computers and the television. Let your friends and extended family know that you won’t be available during that time, and stick to it. Your kids (especially teenagers) may joke about it, but secretly they’ll probably be delighted. Use this time to reconnect with each other. Watch a movie, play board games, take turns reading out loud, but whatever you do, do it together.
  3. Cook at least one meal a week together. Even your youngest children can do something to help. If your kitchen is too small for everyone to fit, schedule a “helper” or have your children be responsible for different parts of the meal. Your family will grow closer during this time, and your kids may even start the conversations themselves. (You can always get the ball rolling by talking about things you did with your parents. While you may not be cool, chances are your kids think your parents are, and will be impressed).
  4. Make it safe for your kids to talk to you. Let them know that you won’t get angry or upset if they talk to you about what’s going on. If they tell you something “off the record” then let it stay that way. (Emergencies and dangerous situations aside).
  5. Listen to what they have to say. If you’re working, or doing something else when your child starts to talk to you, they may give up if they know your attention is really somewhere else. Give them your undivided attention when they’re speaking.
  6. Use active listening skills. Make sure that you understand what your child is telling you. Repeat what they told you and ask questions.
  7. Set aside special time to spend with each child. It may be nothing more than taking one child at a time with you when you run errands, but let each child know that you value spending special time with them.
  8. Be patient. Don’t expect a “perfect” family. If you’re not June Cleaver and your husband isn’t Howard Cunningham, it’s okay. Just remember that perfect families really don’t exist outside of television re-runs.

Just keep trying, and you’ll learn the art of conversation with your kids isn’t as hard as you thought!


Family Meals – Better for Children, Easier for You

family-meals-better-for-children-easier-for-you

Another day, another dinner to prepare. Are you having a difficult time finding easy to prepare meals that can satisfy your growing family?

You want to give your family the best, but time is in short supply and preparing a healthy meal has become a chore. Too often take out or frozen dinners have to do. Is there a way to combine healthy eating with convenience?

Yes! New methods of cooking and easy to prepare staples can change your eating habits and lead to a better eating style for your family. According to the Kid’s Health Program created by the Nemours Foundation, family meals are an important part of developing healthy habits in your kids. Eating as a family will encourage your kids to eat healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables. It will discourage unhealthy snacking and even make them less likely to try smoking or alcohol.

But how do you plan healthy family meals on a tight schedule? Here are some ideas to start:

Does your family love lasagna? Maybe you thought that it was a labor intensive dish that just doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Cheesy and full of fat, perhaps it’s not even a wise choice. However, lasagna is actually one of the most versatile meals to prepare – and with instant (no boil) noodles, it doesn’t even have to be a big job.

There are lasagna recipes for vegetarians, low-carb, low-fat and even diabetic diets. Lasagna noodles now come in instant, no-cook preparations that cut time and energy when making this hearty dish.

For lasagna or other pasta dishes, try using whole wheat pasta and shredding carrots or zucchini into the meat sauce for an easy way to up the nutritional value. Using lean ground beef or even substituting with ground turkey or chicken can make for a surprising, yet nourishing result. Buy bottled pasta sauces for even faster preparation – many grocers carry a wide assortment that will add variety to your dishes.

Looking for an elegant chicken dinner? Don’t forget about frozen skinless chicken breasts. Baked in the oven with a dollop of salsa and shredded cheddar on top makes for a healthy alternative to frying or heavy sauces.

Need ideas for a side dish? Why are you wasting time cutting and washing lettuce when you can pick up a prepackaged bag at the grocers? Not to say it’s the cheapest method, but it definitely helps busy families put nutrition ahead of convenience when planning a meal.

Have you ever tried steaming vegetables in the microwave? Fresh or frozen veggies make for another easy side dish when they’re popped into the microwave for a few minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a paper towel, an easy AND healthy alternative to frying or boiling.

We’re all concerned about our children eating healthier foods. Regular family meals will encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits – an important key to good health later in life. By making meal time less stressful you can focus on the joys of spending time together instead of the hassles of preparing meals.


The Busy Mom Syndrome

the-busy-mom-syndrome

Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced world. As a busy mom, it is hard to keep up with everything on your plate. We have piles of laundry, piles of dishes, and piles of school papers. Along with the many errands we have to run, we also play chauffer for our children. It may be martial arts on Monday, soccer practice on Tuesday and music lessons on Wednesday. Weekends may be even worse with baseball games, gymnastics meets or ballet lessons. And it doesn’t end there. Many of us also try to squeeze in time to volunteer at school and church because we know they need help.

When life is too busy, stress increases and adrenaline levels rise. Eventually, our bodies begin to tell us we are in trouble. Common problems of an over-stressed lifestyle include physical illness, disease, anxiety and depression. Our bodies can handle only so much before they scream STOP! Relationships may also suffer, as everyone becomes tired and irritable. Children who are over extended may not be able to communicate their stress in words, but tantrums, fighting and other unacceptable behavior may all be warning signs.

People who try to handle too much often become disorganized and forgetful. (Have you ever searched everywhere for something you just saw yesterday? Or remembered an appointment – three days late?) My husband and I are perfect examples. I was scheduled to attend a class on Monday: on Wednesday it dawned on me that I had forgotten all about it. Last week my husband returned home twice after leaving for work. The first day he forgot his briefcase; the next day, he forgot his samples. Today he forgot his suit jacket. It really is a vicious circle. Every time we have to take time to return home or worry about things we have forgotten, stress levels increase even more.

Knowing When to Say No

For many of us, volunteering becomes a time-stealing trap. Don’t hear me wrong. Volunteering is a great thing. Our world needs volunteers, and volunteering is very rewarding. It is also our responsibility to teach our children the importance of community service. But moms overwhelmed with volunteer work may be over scheduling themselves at the expense of their families and themselves. When people identify a kindhearted person, who likes to help, they may take advantage. It is easier to approach that type of person than one who is never willing to volunteer. Volunteering is important, but keeping our lives balanced is more important. Expect others to do their share, but when they do not, do not step in for them. Knowing when to say no is as important as knowing when to say yes.

A Magical Machine

How wonderful it would be to have a magical machine with the ability to create peace in the midst of chaos. With this machine, life would be slower and we would feel like we have all the time in the world. If I had this machine I know what my life might look like: I wake up 15 minutes early every day to meditate and pray. I have time to spend on laundry and housecleaning because there is nothing on my schedule. My children have time to relax and play because they have eliminated many of their extracurricular activities. Each night my family sits down to dinner together and shares the best parts of their day. One night of the week is designated as family game night. Saturday night is date night and the children enjoy their babysitter. Everyone in the family is happier and less stressed. Real connections with loved ones exist.

Is this a “Fantasy Island” that can never be reached? No it is not. In fact, no magical machine is needed. We all have the power to create any kind of life we want. We can transform our stressful lives into more relaxed and enjoyable ones. We may have to rearrange our priorities. We may have to make some hard choices — eliminating some of the activities and responsibilities we once believed were necessary. We may have to develop new habits or change old attitudes. But it can be done. Change is not always easy, but isn’t a happier, less stressful life worth it? Think about this: The lives we model today will probably be the types of lives our children live as adults. We do have a choice — choose wisely.


Ways to Balance Family, Job, and Stress

ways-to-balance-family-job-and-stress

In can be difficult to take care of your family and manage your career and home. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Here are a few suggestions on how to take care of your family, home, and your career without getting stressed.

Set Realistic Goals for Yourself when Managing Your Family and Career

When you go to work each day, try to set some goals for you to accomplish. For instance, instead of trying to juggle EVERYTHING at work, let’s say your main goal for today is to finish the report that your supervisor wants, and to do it a day or two early. At the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself knowing that you were able to achieve this individual goal. When you accomplish these smaller goals, you will feel happier, more confident, and less stressed by default.

Delegate Part of Your Responsibilities

When taking care of the family, politely ask your spouse to help out. If your kids are older, get them to assist you with tasks around the house before dinner. If you are at work, only take on what you can handle. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Learn to delegate and work with other people If you try to do everything, you will get more stressed and anxious. A person can only do so much in a given day. Do not be a hero. Learn to manage your responsibilities. If you feel like you’re doing too much, step back and take a break. Then re-evaluate your situation.

Try to do Things in Terms of their Importance

Let’s say that you have to clean the living room, go to the supermarket, and wash the dishes. Go to the supermarket since this is the most important thing that needs done. Do the other two tasks later on, without pressuring yourself to get then all done within a certain timeframe. Determine what needs done right now and do those particular tasks in order of importance.

Managing your family and career does not have to as stressful as it may be right now. Learn to budget your time and manage your tasks. Eventually, you will be able to balance your career and family with less and less stress. If you still have trouble, consider talking to a professional who can give you additional, personalized advice.


Dress Your Baby in Style!

dress-your-baby-in-style

It’s fun to put unique outfits together for a baby. Just because a baby takes several naps every day doesn’t mean that he or she has to wear pajamas all day long. Just like adults, you can dress a baby for his or her body type and come up with some cute outfits.

Here are some tips for dressing a baby in style and creating unique outfits from baby clothing.

Accessories

Who says accessories are only for adults? Obviously, it takes a bit more effort and thought to find tiny accessories, but it can instantly change the look of the whole outfit. You will certainly get a lot of compliments as adults tend to ooh and ahh over mini accessories. Headbands, belts, scarves, and hats are just a few ideas for accessories. You also can’t go wrong by having a baby wear a bracelet. You might need to get creative, as some accessories are hard to find in infant sizes. For example, you can take a woman’s headband and use it for an infant’s belt. This added piece can look darling over a tunic top or cardigan.

Start Big

You might think it is expensive to choose unique clothing from baby boutiques, but this isn’t always the case. If you think outside the box, you can get creative and make clothing items last longer. If you buy a size 2T tunic top, this can easily be a dress for a baby first. You simply add a belt around the waist and it begins as a dress and later converts to a top. This same tip can go for buying a baby jeans or leggings. If you buy them a little big, they can start as pants with cuffs and later be worn regularly. You can get the most out of your money by having a baby wear items for as long as possible.

Shop All Sections

If you are shopping for an infant girl, you might think you are limited to the girls section. However, the boys section might offer some unique items. A navy blue and cream striped cardigan can look great over some solid colored leggings on an infant girl. You can probably also find neutral gray, cream, and black pieces in the boys section. This adds fun pieces to an infant girl’s wardrobe and can always be dolled up with fun accessories. When shopping for a baby girl, you aren’t only limited to pink and purple clothing.

Use Essentials as Accessories

There are some clothing items a baby needs. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and fashionable with them. It’s a known fact that babies are going to go through stages of spitting up or drooling. A bandana bib is a fun style of bib that serves its purpose for these things, but also looks like an accessory.

If you start looking for unique baby clothing, you will be sure to find a wide selection… especially when you start getting creative and thinking outside of the box!


How Do I Encourage My Child to Play Outdoors?

How Do I Encourage My Child to Play Outdoors

Kids in general are spending more time in front of the television, computer, and electronic devices than they play outdoors. This has led to a serious problem with childhood obesity in the United States, and many parents worry about how they can encourage their kids to get outside and be active. Here, we will give you some ideas for how to encourage your kids to play outdoors more so that they can live active, healthy lives.

Play Sets

If your children are still young, they may not be ready to be enrolled in sports or to go out and play basketball with the neighborhood kids. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t encourage them to go play outdoors. In fact, you should start this habit from a very young age, so that it becomes a way of life for them as they get older.

One great way to encourage young children to play outdoors is to buy a play set. Play sets can include swings, slides, ladders, seesaws, miniature climbing walls, fireman’s poles, and a number of other elements that allow children to get active with their playtime. Play sets are great for young kids, because it allows them to develop basic motor skills and hand-eye coordination while they play.

Know Your Neighbors

Your child is much more likely to play outdoors if they know the other neighborhood children. So take the time to get to know your neighbors and their kids. Introduce your kids to the others their age that live on your street. The better they get to know these other kids, the more likely they are to want to go outside and play basketball, soccer, tag, or any other number of outdoor games. Plus, the better you know your neighbors, the more peace of mind you will have when your kids are out playing together.

Organized Sports

As they get older, enrolling your child in organized sports or other organized outdoor activities encourages them to be active and learn how to play well on a team. Every neighborhood and school has some kind of league, so do your research and find out how to enroll your child in a sport in the area.

Of course, you want your kid to enjoy the time that they spend playing outdoors, so talk to them and find out what kinds of sports they’re interested in, whether it be baseball, soccer, football, tennis, or basketball. If you let them choose their sport, they’re more likely to enjoy and stick to it.

If your child isn’t the type to enjoy organized sports, look for other group outdoor activities that you can enroll them in, like a hiking club.

Lead by Example

The most important way to encourage your child to be active and play outdoors is to lead by example. So get outside as much as possible, and make sure you do so with your kids whenever you can. Go on family walks, bike rides, or hikes. Go to the local park and play on the playground. Throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball around in the yard together. If your child always sees you enjoying time outdoors, they’re more likely to do the same. This will lead to a lifetime of good habits for every member of your family.

Whether you purchase play sets or enroll your child in sports, it’s important that you find ways to encourage them to get outside and stay active. Just remember, every child is different, so if these tips don’t work for your kid, try to find other techniques that do.


Preparing for Labor Before the Moment Comes

Preparing for Labor Before the Moment Comes

Whether you’re planning to have your baby at home, in hospital or at a midwifery unit, you’ll definitely want to pre-pack in preparation for labor. It’s best to get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date.

If you’re planning to give birth in a hospital or midwifery unit, your midwife will probably give you a list of what you’ll need to pack for labor. Make sure this includes:

  • Something loose and comfortable to wear during labor that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. You’ll probably need about three changes of clothes.
  • Three comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual.
  • 24 sanitary pads.
  • A bag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap and other toiletries.
  • Several towels.
  • Books, magazines and music to help pass time after birth.
  • Sponge or water spray to cool you down.
  • Front-opening or loose-fitting night gowns or tops if you’re going to breastfeed.
  • Five pairs of pants.
  • Loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in.
  • Clothes, a hat, and diapers for baby.
  • Swaddles or blankets to wrap baby in.
  • Baby Shusher
  • Tushy Tote for diapers.

Transport

Work out how you’ll get to the hospital or midwifery unit, because you could need to go there at any hour of the day or night. If you’re planning to go by car, make sure it’s running well and that there’s plenty of gas in the tank. Make sure to have a couple of different options on who will get you there in case something comes up for your first option.

If you haven’t got a car, call a taxi service or call your maternity unit, which can arrange for an ambulance to pick you up.

Home Births

If you’re planning to give birth at home, discuss your plans with your midwife. Consider where in your home you want to give birth.

You’re likely to need:

  • Clean linen and towels.
  • Clothes, a hat, and diapers for baby.
  • 24 sanitary pads.
  • Baby Shusher
  • Tushy Tote for diapers.

Important  Numbers

Wherever you’re planning to give birth, keep a list of important numbers in your handbag or program them into your phone.

You need to include:

  • Your hospital or midwife’s phone number.
  • Your partner or birth partner’s phone number.
  • Your own hospital reference number.

Most hospitals and midwifery units allow you to use your mobile phone. Check with your midwife. If you can’t use your mobile phone, make sure you have access to a land line.

Stocking Up

When you come home after labor, you won’t want to do much more than rest and care for your baby. Do as much shopping and planning in advance as you can. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, sanitary towels, diapers, groceries, and needed household items. It’s also a great idea to pre-cook some meals in advance and freeze them.


When Should I Get Rid of My Baby’s Pacifier?

When Should I Get Rid of My Babys Pacifier

Many parents utilize a pacifier (or “binki”) as an essential tool to calm a crying baby. Other parents are opposed to the use of a pacifier entirely.

Care.com recently asked their community of parents, nannies and babysitters on Care.com’s Facebook Page what they thought about pacifiers. When is the best age to stop using them? Should they be used at all?

Here’s what they said:

  1. “I’ll let my daughter have one until she either doesn’t want it anymore or the dentist recommends she not have it.”
    ~ Amberly S.
  2. “When they are learning to talk.”
    ~ Judy S.
  3. “When you get tired of waking up in the middle of the night to ‘plug them back in.'”
    ~ Shawn G.
  4. “6 months — before they have a chance to do damage to their teeth. My daughter decided at 6 months she was done with them and never wanted them again. And per her dentist, it was the best time. Oral health is so important.”
    ~ Renate P.
  5. “Never offer one. Then you won’t have to get rid of them.”
    ~ Madison K.
  6. “We stopped the bottles and pacifiers at 13 months. Past one year or so is not good for their teeth and can severely delay speech. I cringe every time I see a 2 or 3 year old at the playground sucking a pacifier while the other kids their age are talking and playing.”
    ~ Lauren D.
  7. “My first used a pacifier and it was mostly for sleep, as he got older it stayed in his bed. If they can walk and talk, in my opinion, it’s not needed during the day. We talked him into giving it up before his 3rd birthday. The second child refused all pacifiers and bottles…both kids still needed braces, as did my third, who also never used a pacifier. Do your best as a parent and stop judging others.”
    ~ Jennifer H.
  8. “The big question is… who really needs the pacifier: the kid or the parents? Many times, in child care, the child never uses it while in care and the second the parent arrives, the parent pops it into the kid’s mouth! Some infants take to them and some don’t; don’t force them to take them if they don’t want it.”
    ~ Gina C.
  9. “The girl I nanny just sent her ‘teetees’ off  in the mail to the ‘teetee fairy’ on her 3rd birthday. She was only allowed to use it for sleeping when she was 2.”
    ~ Kayla S.
  10. “Allowing children to use pacifiers and bottles past the age of 1 is ridiculous.”
    ~ John R.
  11. “My son had one ’til 3 (his decision to lose it) and my daughter who is almost 2 still has hers just for sleeping. Their teeth are perfect! I’d rather them have a paci than suck their fingers or thumb! How do you break that habit when it’s stuck to them?!”
    ~ Alyssa J
  12. “Give up the binkie when you’re 76.”
    ~ Shelli R.
  13. “I found some babies need them, some don’t. But whatever you do, by age 1 no pacifier and no more bottles — that’s what sippy cups are for.”
    ~ Penny R.
  14. “Both of my kids had a pacifier and they both decided when they wanted to get rid of it. Neither of them have issues with their teeth and it didn’t harm them in any way. I really dislike people who feel the need to make others feel bad because of a decision they made for their child.”
    ~ Lauren B.
  15. “I don’t recall that any of my kids used a pacifier. It’s a substitute for good parenting.”
    ~ John B.
  16. “6 months. I only gave them to my kids when they wanted to eat and it wasn’t time, basically.”
    ~ Amanda M.
  17. “I think no mom should judge another mom for using a pacifier…just like you shouldn’t judge on whether they breastfed or not. My son uses a pacifier, is almost 17 months, and has never been sick and his teeth are perfect. He uses it to chew on while he is breaking teeth through. He also talks just fine. It’s his comfort. He would be sucking his thumb if he didn’t have a pacifier… can’t take away a thumb when it’s time. As soon as he consistently starts sleeping through the night, pacifier is gone.”
    ~ Erica L.
  18. “Whenever they’re ready to turn it in. My daughter gave me hers at four years old and she has perfectly straight teeth.”
    ~ Patricia P.
  19. “As a foster parent to 14 babies or toddlers, I’ve found that each child is different. One baby was on a NG tube and a pacifier was recommended by both her feeding specialist and her pediatrician to help her learn to suck. Unfortunately, she would never take one. We’ve had a few that went through withdrawals — one had severe withdrawals and that child is the only one who has taken a pacifier. At 10 months old, with ten teeth, still uses one. Sleep is difficult enough with the pacifier; I cannot imagine not letting him have one!”
    ~ Deborah M.
  20. “Personally I think pacifiers are great! As an infant they help to reduce the risk of SIDS. I gave one to my son after he was born. I also decided that when he turned a year old I would no longer give him a pacifier. As it turned out, he was 13 months old when he decided he was done with the pacifier and the bottle!”
    ~ Stacey B.
  21. “I nursed & used passies. Other than my youngest, I think they finished with them by around 1.5. I decided to wean my son at 18 months, due to some personal issues. That night he dropped it as I was carrying him down the hall. I was too tired to pick it up, so when he asked for it I said it was gone. That was the end of that. I think the biggest problem is parents who just shove it in a child’s mouth instead of letting the child decide when to use it. It’s often used in place of actual parent/child interaction.”
    ~ Denise L.
  22. “Visit your dentist, to see if it is helping or harming your child’s bite, etc.”
    ~ Alice S.
  23. “I used to be a judgmental jerk about seeing toddlers with pacifiers in public. Now I have a 2.5 year old who will not keep his hands out of his mouth. Every playground, every mall, everywhere, his fingers are in his mouth. If I stick a pacifier in his mouth at the playground, he doesn’t stick his germy, disgusting hands in his mouth and I can rest easy until I can slather him up with soap or hand sanitizer. So anyway, all that to say that it’s your business — as long as you ditch it before it causes any developmental problems in your child’s mouth, then you just do what works for you.”
    ~ Melissa H.
  24. “Right before my child turned 2, we went to Build-a-Bear and put his in his first teddy.  It worked. He’s 8 and still has it…you can feel the pacifier.”
    ~ Wendy W.
  25. “If the baby needs them in the first year, let them. But then before 13 months, have them magically disappear. It will be some transition for a few days, but then it will be alright. If you wait longer than 18 months and they can go and find them themselves, it is a lot harder. The biggest thing is don’t assume your baby needs them. And if they resist them at first, great!”
    ~ Nellie D.
  26. “6 months. But there is a point where kids try to get rid of them on their own. It’s the parents most often that continue to plug them in.”
    ~ Lindi B.
  27. “Not crazy about them. Always dropping on the floor and baby can’t get them back in their mouth until they are older.”
    ~ Katrina B.
  28. “I would let them go when they are getting their teeth. One girl I cared for chewed hers sideways and it was making her teeth curve incorrectly, so I wouldn’t give it to her (only when she was going to sleep). She stopped asking for it so much because I distracted her.”
    ~ Meliza R.
  29. “Age 3 for my son. We discussed it for a month and had a funeral for it. (I quickly dug it up just in case.) He is now 15 and can remember where it was buried. Pacifiers are supposed to be helpful in decreasing the risk of SIDS, so keeping it at least one year is helpful. My second son didn’t want one.”
    ~ Tatum H.
  30. “My son has special needs and doesn’t have self-soothing skills. He is almost 3 and still has it on occasion.”
    ~ Alyssa S.
  31. “6 months, my daughter broke herself of it. The bottle was a different story.”
    ~ Barbi Y.
  32. “In the trash at 1 year old!”
    ~ Samantha M.
  33. “My son quit his at 11 months. I bought the orthodontic ones that don’t bother teeth. He has never had an ear infection in his life. It helped break his teeth through when teething. He only used it to sleep, never during the day and it was the pediatrician who recommended that it nighttime pacifier be used to continue the sucking motion and reduces the risk of SIDS. It never confused him breastfeeding either. My son due in March will not be introduced one unless he desires to suck at night.”
    ~ Tammy F.
  34. “Definitely not much past a year. They should be able to self soothe without a binky a little before a year. If you’re going to keep it past a year, only at bedtime and nap time, or they will get way too attached and it will be even harder to get rid of it. What we did is we ‘mailed the binkies to the babies’ and that helped get rid of it. Also they are not good for teeth, even the ‘dental’ ones. Just my opinion as a caregiver for 7+ years.”
    ~ Shannon R.
  35. “When they are ready to stop using them, they will let you know. I have five kids, and some used it and some didn’t. Some doctors do recommend them for babies with digestive issues like reflux. It really does help.”
    ~ Patty M.
  36. “18 months is when the paci went bye-bye. Cold turkey worked for my daughter.”
    ~ Deana M.
  37. “My older daughter had a very hard time giving up her pacifier. Pediatric dentists say that a pacifier should be given up by the fourth birthday to prevent problems with the teeth. It will not cause a problem prior to that. They also aren’t a substitute for good parenting. Pacifiers are very helpful for babies who are teething. Anyway, she gave it up the night before her fourth birthday, but she had only been using it at bedtime for two years prior. We did decide to get rid of our 15-month-old daughter’s pacifiers at the same time, so her sister wouldn’t take them. The younger one did fine letting them go.”
    ~ Mary L.
  38. “I think after 2 it is weird, but I see no problem letting a baby soothe herself with a pacifier. Mine used it to help teeth break through, but we lost all her binkies for a week and now she is off them at 8 months.”
    ~ Haley R.
  39. “I took my daughter’s away at birth — never used one.”
    ~ Harmony F.
  40. “After safe sleeping is diminished, when the child is able to roll over and sleep on his or her belly, then get rid of the pacifier. Pacifiers save lives — they believe there’s a link between pacifiers and SIDS: the suck motion keeps the baby alert while sleeping.”
    ~ Lisa B.
  41. “My twins were the only babies of our five who used a pacifier. By 3 months, they refused it, so that was the end of it.”
    ~ Nancy R.

Please share your personal thoughts about pacifiers in the comment section below.