Q: Is it OK to use the "Santa is taking your dummy away" line to my three year old? I have started this but am concerned I not playing fair. I want to try to take advantage of Santa and Christmas to encourage my child to do as I ask. I not only need to drop the dummy, but I need to drop the pull up nappies and get him into a `big kid bed'. 

Christmas time and Santa giving only present to ‘good kids’ is often used to manipulate kids behaviour.  I’ve never been a big believer in this strategy as like any other threats, bribes, cons when it comes to kids and behaviour it really is short lived in the ‘getting results category’!!  They soon forget move on, and then as a parent you find yourself using the con again, and again.  But does it really have any long lasting affect on their behaviour? No I don’t believe so.

As for using Santa to take your childs dummy away as a specific strategy – the results are really out on this one.  I certainly have heard lots of stories of parents giving the dummy to the ‘tooth fairy’ or ‘easter bunny’ or ‘santa’ often with the tag line of ‘they will be giving it to the babies who really need them.’ Is this successful?  Well it depends.  It depends if your child is ready to ‘give up’ the dummy or not.

If they are, it can be highly successful and they leave it out, the dummy disappears and there is a little bit of whinging at sleep time but they move on.  In other situations, it doesn’t make much difference at all.  Whether you go with this line of a traditional character taking it, is up to you – I personally much prefer the more direct line, however having said this the ‘power’ of imagination is quite strong and some kids to go with this story – I’d ask you….. Do you think your child is ready to hand it over?  Or is it just that you are ready?  If it’s just that you are ready then you simply need to make the decision, set a date and out go all the dummys.  There are a couple of other strategies for getting rid of the dummy, I suggest you go to my website and read the article there as it is too lengthy for this article space.

On the issue of dropping pull up nappies and moving into a bid kids bed both of these are another two issues.  If you are try to achieve this before xmas, we are only two weeks away and that’s a lot to do as well as all the other xmas preparations.  Pull ups can be dropped easily if they are dry in the morning, if they are not, then this  can take a while.  Again I suggest you read some articles on both of these and decide which is your priority as trying to do all in a week or two is quite a task for you and your son.

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