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How do I get my Toddler to Stop Throwing their Soother out?

Once you've settled your little one into their crib, given them a goodnight kiss, and quietly left the room, the brief moment of silence is interrupted by a distinct thud on the baby monitor – a pacifier or teddy bear hitting the floor.

The thud is immediately followed by deep visceral crying - the world is officially over.

You quickly get back to their room and swing open the door. You drop to your knees and fumble around looking for something, anything, that will stop the crying. But there's nothing there. Where the f*** is the soother? You start moving the crib around, the child is now even more restless screaming like a banshee in your ear. You start to sweat - the stress is mounting. Will the crying ever stop?

But then all of a sudden, out of nowhere you feel it. Out of the darkness comes what you've been looking for what feels like an eternity - the soother.

You immediately follow the noise and start feeling around for anything that remotely resembles a head. Finally, you grab a chin and quickly, but gently, shove the soother in their mouth. The crying starts to subside, is it over? You cover the little one, give them their stuffy and quickly GTFO before the crying starts again. You've won the battle, but the war is still being fought. You proceed to bang your head against a wall and ask yourself quietly, "How do I get my toddler to stop throwing their soother out?"

This nighttime ritual, aptly named "If I Drop It, They Will Come," unfolds repeatedly, testing your resolve and patience.Does this scenario sound familiar?

How do I get my toddler to stop throwing their soother?

The act of tossing soothers out of the crib is a cherished pastime among toddlers. While some engage in this activity for the sheer joy of watching objects soar through the air, most do it as a clever ploy to summon the comforting presence of Mom or Dad back into the room after bedtime.

If your child sporadically tosses their soother, you might not mind the occasional retrieval mission. However, if this game becomes a nightly affair, it's worth considering the messages you're inadvertently sending. Children learn from the behaviours we reinforce, and if handing back the tossed item becomes a routine, it only reinforces the behaviour.

Strategies for Navigating the Soother Toss Challenge

1. Immediate Retrieval – But Only Once: While the temptation may be to delay responding for 15 or 20 minutes, doing so might communicate to your child that persistence leads to success. Instead, return the soother promptly after the first toss, coupled with a firm but gentle response that it stays on the floor if thrown again. If they test your resolve, stand firm and resist handing it back a second time. Once they are asleep, you can discreetly return the soother to the crib, ensuring they have it for the rest of the night. While this approach might not eradicate the behaviour entirely, it imparts the lesson that tossing it more than once has consequences.

2. Ignore the Behaviour: This approach might seem stern, especially if your child relies on their soother for bedtime comfort. However, resisting the urge to immediately return the soother can prompt a swift learning curve. The key is to persevere through a few challenging nights until your child adapts. Feel free to reintroduce the soother once they are asleep, and offer praise for successfully keeping it in the crib throughout the night.

Managing the Soother Toss game involves a delicate balance of responsiveness and consistency. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate this bedtime challenge while teaching your little one valuable lessons about cause and effect.


As much as you want to give in and give them a soother, it's only going to make it harder for everyone in the long run. Remember: they're smarter than you know! Don't reinforce a negative action and stay strong. Stick to your plan and follow through with it, and I promise eventually, they'll fall asleep. Trust me - it's easier said than done!

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