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Published on March 6th, 2018 | by Balanced Family

4 Tips for Get Your Child to Stop Sucking Their Thumb

Thumb sucking

The vast majority of babies and many children suck their thumb. It has been estimated that as many as 95% of all babies do this. For most, this urge goes away by the time they reach the age of two. There are some who continue to do this. By some estimates, about 10% of children will still be doing this when they reach the age of two or three and 5% will still be sucking their thumb when they get to the ages of four or five. This is the reason thumb sucking deterrents such as plastic thumb guards were created.

Some parents do not see the problem when their children continue thumb and finger sucking when most of their peers have stopped. Here are some of the problems that can be caused by this:

  • It can make them sick. People have a ton of germs on their hands. The typical person can have as many as 3,200 bacteria living on their hands.
  • It can change the way their teeth come in. Americans care a lot about how their teeth look and sucking on their thumb can impact how they come in. It has been reported that about 75% of children’s under and overbites can be prevented. Good thumb sucking remedies are important in this area.
  • It can impact how a child speaks. Experts say that one of the most common causes of speech impairments is thumb sucking.

    Here are some techniques to get your child to stop sucking their thumb:

Talk to them. Before you head out to buy or you order plastic thumb guards online, start by having a simple conversation with your child. There may be things going on that are upsetting them and that is leading to the desire to suck their thumb. This may not be enough to do it but it can help them to understand why doing this can be harmful to them.

  1. Keep a journal of when your child sucks their thumb and what they are doing at the time. You may notice, after a bit of time, that there are certain activities your child is always doing when they start to suck their thumb. For many children, sucking their thumb while watching television or when they are asleep are as natural as breathing. In fact, these are the two activities most associated with thumb sucking. If they like to do this in front of the television, make them take a TV timeout of between five and ten minutes whenever you see them doing it. If they like to do it while they are asleep, you can put gloves or socks on their hands when they go to bed.
  2. Try nail polish that tastes bad. This may seem like an extreme way to keep kids from sucking their thumb but if they are doing it when they are asleep, it can be one of the best ways to break them of the habit. It may be hard to stop this problem any other way. When your child starts to suck their thumb and they have the bad taste hit their tongue should wake them up. You may have to try a few different brands before you find one that works for you.
  3. Use more carrots than sticks. When your child does NOT suck their thumb, they should be praised and rewarded. Numerous studies show that positive reinforcement works a lot better than punishments to change behavior in children and adults. You know what your child likes and will respond well to so go with that when dealing with this issue. Some kids like getting stickers for going certain periods of time without sucking their thumb.
  4. Look into anti-thumb sucking appliances. There are plastic thumb guards, which can be helpful to stop your child from sucking their thumb. Some research shows that using plastic thumb guards can reduce the urge to do this by about 90%. If you have tried other methods with no success, plastic thumb guards may offer the solution you are looking for.

Getting children to stop sucking their thumb can be a daunting challenge a but these tips can really help you accomplish that goal.

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