Break the Habit

Thumb sucking as a toddler can lead to problems down the road. However, there are ways to break the habit.

One year old Peyton does one thing her parents are a little concerned about… sucking her thumb.


Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu says, “So kids who suck their thumb when they’re as young say 2 or 3 years old it can affect their speech, it might affect the way their baby teeth develop and that’s important because the baby teeth are paving the way for the adult teeth.”

Some of what parents might see as “bad habits” can, for children, be ways they soothe and calm themselves, according to the American Academy Of Pediatrics. “For most kids who suck their thumb there’s really not a whole lot you can do about it until they are about 4 years old. Unless they decide they want to kick the habit themselves,” says Shu.

One good way to kick those habits according to Shu is keeping toddlers and children active saying, “I often suggest that parents get their kids a lovey or a small toy they can carry around like a little toy car, or train or a tiny doll so that it keeps their hands busy.”

Team work is also an important part of the process. Shu says, “It’s really important to make a plan on how you’re going to break that habit and try to get everyone on board family, any teacher at school or daycare.”

And remember to praise your child for making good efforts.

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