Thumb sucking is a common habit among children but at some point you may want to consider stopping your child’s habit. There are many negative long term issues that can accompany thumb sucking. By learning techniques now you can save your child pain and keep money in your pocket in the future.
As you child grows, thumb sucking may begin to affect the roof of the mouth and how the teeth line up. Depending on the length and intensity of how often your child sucks on his or her thumb will determine how severe the repercussions will be. Studies show that prolonged sucking could begin to affect your child's mouth, jaw, teeth, and possibly cause their permanent teeth to be misaligned.
Most children will stop sucking their thumb on their own by age 3 but you should begin to consider taking preventative steps to stop them from their habit as it could lead to adverse effects later in their development.
Signs That You Should Consider Stoping Your Child from Thumb Sucking
If they’re sucking for most of the day and night. (This is more damaging to their mouth and teeth)
If they’re having trouble speaking, playing or interacting with other children because they always have their thumb in their mouth
If they’re dentist is concerned about their oral development
How to Prevent Thumb Sucking
The same principals that help adults overcome issues with oral fixations like cigarettes, alcohol, drug, and food addictions can help kids to cease sucking their thumb. In order to fix a problem you first have to understand the root of the issue. Many infants start sucking their thumbs from the hospital. The rhythmic sucking soothed them and re-optimized their heart beats and breathing patterns. For the child it actually helped them calm and has been proven to even help children be more independent than non thumbsuckers. In short it was rewarding.
Steps to Break the Habit
Offer Rewards: Some children are highly motivated by a visual representation of their progress (like stickers or small tokens).
Set up Boundaries: Tell your child they can suck their thumb only when they’re in bed or while watching TV
Use Visual Reminders: Tie a bow or ribbon around their thumb.
Apply a Bitter Taste: Put something on their thumb that tastes bitter.
Buy a Finger Guard: They prevent your child from sucking their thumb but can be cumbersome.
Ultimately it will be up to your child to decide when they will break their habit. Encourage the positives but don’t admonish your child for their behavior. Your support and guidance is the best tool they have against breaking their thumb sucking habit.
Stop Thumbsuck Book
Stop Blanket Suck