Thumb sucking-a common habit

Thumb sucking is a very common habit among young children.
by Adam Borkowski

From Beginning in the womb, babies begin to suck their thumbs. It may be a natural reflex. We have all seen babies sucking on fingers, toys and even their clothing. Young children may begin sucking their thumbs to sooth or comfort themselves. Thumb sucking can interfere with the growth of the child’s mouth and teeth, and generally it should be stopped by the age of 5. Some children will simply outgrow the habit, while others need a little help. This article will help you ease your child out of thumb sucking.
Difficulty: Easy
Instructions
Breaking the Habit
1
Encourage your child by showing him that he is growing and changing, and point out the things that he no longer needs. Things such as bottles and diapers and certain toys. Praise your child for no longer needing those things by gently suggesting thumb sucking be next on the list of things no longer necessary.

2
Weaken the thumb sucking habit by distracting the child when he is sucking his thumb. You may want to shift his interest to a craft or activity that would require the use of both hands.

3
Talk with your child about a habit that you once had to give up and how you accomplished it. This will work best if your child is old enough and has expressed that he wants to break the thumb sucking habit.

4
Use comments from authority figures whom your child admires. These people can be his doctor, caregiver or preschool teacher. Your child looks up to these people and will most likely want to please them. If he knows that they would like him to stop this habit, they can help encourage him as well.

5
Arrange play dates or sleepovers with other children who do not have or have outgrown the thumb sucking habit. Your child is susceptible to peer pressure even at an early age. Being with other children who do not share this habit may help to show your child that other children can function just fine without sucking their thumbs and that he, too, can give it up.

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