Tips For Helping Your Child Off The Thumb-sucking Habit

Most infants start their early stages in life with the sucking of thumbs or fingers. However, while it’s normal and healthy, it’s a cause of alarm if the habit continues beyond the ages of 2-4 where most children tend to stop on their own.

Nevertheless, some children would continue with the thumb-sucking habit at least until the age of 7 when they start to shed their milk teeth. But if your child can’t get off the practice by this period, they might develop dental issues later on in life, something you shouldn’t ignore.

What Are The Effects Of Thumb-sucking?

One of the common problems that arise with this habit is buck teeth. Here your child risks pushing their front teeth out of their alignment, an issue that could escalate to an alteration of the shape of their face or even worse cause an open bite.

Additionally, addiction to thumb-sucking could significantly affect your child’s speech formation capabilities as their teeth get out of their standard position. It’s an alarming concern, especially for preschoolers.

Helping Your Child Stop Thumb-sucking

Avoid nagging; being too clingy will make your child lose confidence in themselves and turn out to be quite defensive. Instead, try to for-look the little mistakes.

Make use of Rewards; this doesn’t have to be in the form of tangible gifts all the time. Appreciative gestures such as hugs and praises might seem limiting but priceless. You can buy them gifts once in a while once they achieve a set milestone as a form of celebration.

Maintain their progression calendar; with the hectic day to day schedules, it’s easy to forget simple details. Therefore, have a calendar specifically for them where you’ll record/circle the given time, date, week and even month that your child didn’t engage in thumb-sucking.

You can also include the day of extreme sucking to find out the trigger so that you work on a solution.

Get them a reminder; sometimes the thumb-sucking habit comes out unconsciously, hence purchase some gloves for your child or even paint the thumb (with a distinctive nail paint in stores) to remind them not to suck. It might be frustrating at first, but they will get used to it with time.

Give them a destruction; since most of the sucking takes place when the child is idle, ensure they have a particular toy to cuddle and play with to stay away from temptation.

Involve professional help; you can also involve the services of your family dentist for an informative session.

And above all, exercise patience as this might take a while to break off the habit.

Sources: Junior Dentist, Washington Post, Baby Tooth Center