How To Break Your Child’s Thumb-sucking Habit?

Babies suck their thumbs for comfort. Often you may find that they fall asleep when sucking on the breast or the feeding bottle. The habit begins at 3 months and usually carries on past 1 year or 2 years of age. Sometimes, it may go on until 3 to 4 years of age. However, it can cause dental problems if it carries on when the permanent teeth are about to arrive as the teeth formation is restricted. One needs to break the thumb- sucking before the child enters school, or else he or she will face ridicule.

Tips to Break Thumb-sucking Habits in Child

  • Distract the child. He or she may be bored or tired and therefore sucks their thumb
  • Ignore it, as it is normal to do so before 4 years. If the child is stressed, tired, or sick it is better not to take note of the thumb-sucking
  • One can use a pacifier
  • Praise the child for not sucking the thumb
  • If it persists, then you can show how the front and lower teeth are getting affected by the thumb sucking
  • Warn him or her of peer group ridicule
  • Let the child notice how the skin on the thumb is getting affected
  • Assist the child in overcoming the frustrations felt in breaking the habit. Limit exposure to certain environments that would cause your child to suck their thumb. Some children may thumb suck, while watching television, you need to control their watching
  • You can place a band-aid on the thumb as a reminder of their thumb sucking. However, the child should agree to do this
  • You can remind the child when he or she sucks the thumb. Cajole him or her  to stop their  thumb- sucking
  • Parents also should seek cooperation from the child to break the thumb- sucking habit at sleep time. By wearing a glove can serve as a reminder to the child not too suck their thumb..
  • You can reward the child whenever he or she does not suck
  • If the child is above 5 years of age, then you can remove the thumb from the mouth. Do not scold or slap him or her

One should be patient in breaking the habit of thumb- sucking in a child. The child gradually outgrows it, but sometimes he or she may need some help. Parents should appreciate and understand the child’s need to suck the thumb. If you find that you are fighting a losing battle, one can also ask the help of the physician to help the child overcome the habit.

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