Though many children outgrow the habit of sucking fingers as they grow up, some don’t and they end up facing problems. Here’s how to help your child quit sucking his/her fingers.

How To Get A Child To Stop Sucking Fingers Early

It is alarming when we think of all the ways which mothers and ayahs employed to rid children of the habit of sucking their fingers. They would tie an old sock to the child’s hand, lace it with a layer of chilli powder or pepper, whack the child with a wooden spoon or, worse, a steel ladle when the child suckled his/her thumb and so on. Eventually, when the child gave up the habit, they would thank the tried and tested methods they used and exclaim how the problem to every solution was there in the past. What they refused to see was that it was not their methods of trickery, but their love and consistency that paid off. True, children who suck their fingers develop dental and speech related problems, but whacking with a spoon is not the answer. Read on to know how to help your child stop the habit of sucking fingers.
How To Stop A Child From Sucking Fingers
Here is what you should do (and keep in mind) to help your child get over the habit of sucking his/her fingers.
Stress Is The Word
Remember that most of the times that your child sucks his/her fingers, he/she is either lonely or feels insecure for some reason or other – either you may have got busy with other household work and left him/her to play with his/her toys. Or you may have got busy with another person like your older child or any other person inside the house. The notion that children suck their fingers when they are hungry had been proven wrong for most of the times.
Watch… Observe…
Most children who have been weaned off the comfort of breast milk will naturally suck their fingers, but this habit is less likely to persist for more than a few months after they have been weaned away. In fact, they problem arises when the child continues to suck his/her fingers well past his/her growing stage, say after he/she has learnt to walk, learnt a few words and can take solid food. If the child sucks his/her fingers even after two years, you have a cause to worry. However, some children may suck their fingers till age four and give up thereafter. 

Every time your child refrains from sucking his/her fingers, reward him/her with praise, attention and/or a small gift or token. Encourage the child to refrain from sucking his/her thumb. Device a way to encourage your child better his/her last record each time and help him/her refrain from finger sucking for longer and longer periods of time. 

Things To Do
Offer your child something to do – like make toys out of plasticine or modeling clay, or give him/her toys that will keep his/her hands busy so that he/she does not get an opportunity to suck his/her thumb. 

Talk the Talk
Keep talking to your child – asking him/her questions about things and making him/her recite stuff that you may teach him/her – so that his/her mouth is too occupied and he/she does not get the opportunity to suck his/her fingers. 

Big Kids Don’t Need That”
Use positive statements, instead of negative ones, to wean him/her off the habit. So, instead of saying it is a “bad habit” and that only “bad kids” suck their fingers, try telling him/her that “big kids”, like him/her, do not need to suck their fingers and that they can do without it. Make them feel worthy and strong, not unwanted and a burden. 

Dial D For Dentist
If all your methods fail, try talking to a dentist to see what the other methods of helping your child chuck the habit of finger sucking are. They would have dealt with many other children facing such problems.

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