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Don’t Wait to Get Your Child To Easily Stop Sucking Their Thumb

by gratesbb

There is nothing cuter than an infant sucking on their thumbs. There’s something about watching them finally get their thumb in their mouth after struggling that makes your heart melt. And the joy of seeing them self-soothe themselves to stop crying is both a blessing and a curse. 

Some kids begin sucking their thumbs in the womb, providing them with the comfort they need to naturally soothe and make them feel safe. While it’s cute when they are little (and it also eliminates the need for you to get up throughout the night to put a pacifier back in when it repeatedly falls out of their mouth), thumbsucking can be a troublesome propensity for a little one to break. 

And once they reach the toddler stage, sucking their thumbs becomes an unacceptable habit that can potentially lead to potential dental issues and social issues. By the age of two, you’ll want to help your child break the thumb-sucking habit. The longer you wait to stop thumb sucking, the more difficult it will be to get them to stop. 

One of the most important things to do before developing a plan is to pay attention to when and why your child is sucking their thumb. Identifying their triggers will allow you to determine whether or not it’s just a habit or if it’s their coping mechanism for nervousness, sadness, or another way to relieve stress. For example, if your child is sucking their thumb before bed, you might want to find new ways that will help them to wind down.  If they are sucking their thumb when they are anxious or sad you will need to look into ways that will replace thumb sucking.

There are a handful of methods that will prove to be successful too. You’ll want to choose the techniques that are specific to what your child is sucking their thumb. All of these strategies are designed around positive and non-destructive methods. Here are six methods that have proven to be successful.

Always Stay Calm

It can be frustrating as a parent when you are worried about the damage that your child is facing. But staying calm is essential to ensuring your child will respond effectively. Yelling at them will more than likely prolong your efforts. And remember, they are using this as a self-soothing method yelling can very well put them under additional stress. 

Make Them Forget With A Distraction

Creating a distraction or helping them to find alternative ways if they are thumbsucking to cope with nervousness. Whenever you see your child sucking their thumb, offer them a diversion — toss them a ball, draw a picture, or something else that will keep their little hands occupied. 

Test Products That Will Help

Technology has been transforming healthcare for decades, and new products come out often that have been proven to be successful, from thumb guards to gloves. Medication and breathing exercises will prove to be helpful for children that need alternative coping skills. 

Use The Reward System

For many kids using positive reinforcement will motivate them enough to get them to stop thumb sucking. Whether it’s stickers to earn a prize for more iPad time or going to the park.  

Continuous Praise Breaks The Habit

Continuously pointing out when they are sucking their thumb actually draws attention to their behavior. Instead, you praise your child for not sucking their thumb. This is going to give them the confidence they need. You can achieve this by saying things such as, “You’ve done such a great job keeping your thumb out of your mouth,” or “I’m so proud you haven’t put your thumb in your mouth.” 

Ignoring Them

This might sound counterproductive but paying no attention to thumb sucking is sometimes exactly what they need to stop. Some kids use it to get attention, and when the attention stops, they stop.  

Always remember that for certain kids, it’s going to be difficult to get them to stop sucking their thumb. This can be an inconceivably troublesome propensity to break and will require you to be patient. Do your best not to worry, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself or your child, as this can prolong the process. 

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