Explore the article to know how to kick the habit of thumb sucking in your child.

How To Kick The Habit Of Thumb Sucking

Almost all the babies suck their thumbs when they are small. It is a process to calm themselves. They probably have done it when they were in womb and repeat it for comforting when they feel hungry, worried, lonely, or bored. A thumb-sucking baby may look very cute but the habit of thumb sucking can lead to bad teeth, have bad effect on dental development, increase the chances of getting sick and may even cause taunting from other children. Some children leave the habit as soon as they are two to three years old, while some children keep on clinging on this habit when they are even six years old. There are some methods by which you can help your child kick the habit of thumb sucking. Read on these pointers to know how to kick the habit of thumb sucking.
Getting Rid Of Thumb Sucking 
  • You need to start to break the habit right from when they have started. It is generally seen in infants and toddlers and you need to stop it then only. Although it may be a very common behavior in infants and toddlers, you don’t have to encourage it. Sometimes children do it when they are hungry or feeling sleepy or sometimes when they are feeling lonely. Thumb sucking is a way to comfort themselves. To combat it, don’t keep them hungry and comfort them when they are feeling sleepy.
  • You could also gently take out their thumb from their mouth whenever they start sucking the thumb. It works well with the toddlers and the infants.
  • Sometimes children associate thumb sucking with another object, which they can clutch, and mostly they do it when they are sleeping. For instance if your kid clutch a soft blanket while he/she sucks his/her thumb, then don’t give them the blanket and instead provide them something which they would not be able to associate with thumb sucking and thus will stop the habit.
  • Sometimes children suck their thumb when they have nothing to do, provide them a creative outlet to exhaust their energy. You could provide your baby toys to keep his/her hands occupied and thus the baby will eventually stop thumb sucking.
  • Don’t punish your child if he/she is not able to chuck the habit of thumb sucking. Encourage your baby to adopt an adult behavior and link the thumb sucking as a small baby’s habit. Motivate your child to stop this habit. Nagging also doesn’t work and it may even drive the child to opposite and he/she may augment thumb sucking.
  • You could also provide other methods to calm the children. Some children automatically give this habit up when they find other methods of comforting themselves.
  • Offer an alternative if your child does it only at a specific point of time like when he/she is hungry or when the baby wants to sleep.
  • If your child is more than three years old and still thumb sucking, you need to talk it out. Have a talk with your baby like an adult and tell them the negative effects of thumb sucking like it is bad for teeth and tell your baby he/she may need braces, by thumb sucking they are inserting dirty objects in their mouth and they may need to go to hospital. It may help him/her to stop the habit. Associate the habit as a baby behavior and tell them that stopping this habit as a part of growing up.
  • Sometimes letting them see how they look while they are thumb sucking also works well with the children. Tell them to sit in front of the mirror and then suck the thumb.
  • Many people wrap band-aid around the thumb or apply bitter objects on the thumb to get rid of the habit of thumb sucking. Some people even place gloves on the hands to kick this habit.
  • Children generally suck their thumbs when either they are hungry, bored, tired or worried. Try to give them a positive environment.
  • Don’t get frustrated and praise them when they try to get rid of this habit. This habit is a comforter and it may take time to kick this habit. You need to give support to your kid to help him/her get rid of this habit.
  • Don’t ridicule your baby when he/she is thumb sucking. However, don’t even give your baby any positive encouragement when he/she is thumb sucking.
  • You could also teach your baby a relaxing method in order to keep this habit in check. Meditation, deep breathing or anything else that works well with you would work with him/her.
  • If nothing else works, use a thumb guard in order to keep a check on this behavior.

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