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How Can I Help My Child Stop Thumb Sucking?

By Author: James Franklin
Total Articles: 80

A very common habit among kids, thumb sucking can be very difficult to break. Understanding thumb sucking can help you encourage your child to stop the behavior. But why do children do this? Babies have natural sucking reflexes which can make them put their thumbs into their mouth. And since this makes babies feels secure, there are those who develop this habit when they go to sleep or are trying to soothe themselves. Here are some tips to help you.
•Limit the time your child thumb sucks, explaining to them that this is only an activity they can do at home and during sleeping time.
•Do not confront your child and tell them to stop thumb sucking directly. Recognize and praise them when they are not doing it, instead of criticizing when they are.
•Discuss with your child their thumb sucking behavior. Tell them that you will be there to help them when they want to stop this habit.
•Never stop your child from thumb sucking when they are injured or hurt. Thumb sucking comforts them and prohibiting them from doing so only traumatizes them more.
•Practice self-awareness, helping your child recognize if they are sucking their thumb and offering alternative ways to soothe them like a stuffed animal or blanket.
•Do not use those commercial products designed to stop thumb sucking. This is a cruel way to get your child to break the habit.
•Think of creative ways to get your child to understand that he is already growing up and he should stop the habit already.
•Do not use a mitten or glove as a quick fix to stop the habit. Doing so will only frustrate them and cause more anxiety, making them want to thumb suck all the more.
•Keep in mind that your child will eventually grow out of their need to suck their thumb when they are good and ready. They will eventually give up the habit.
If you have any concerns about the effects of thumb sucking on the teeth of your child, schedule an appointment with your dentist now. For some kids, a quick chat with their dentist on the importance of breaking their thumb sucking habit is a lot more effective than a talk with their parents. There are also cases where the dentist might recommend that the child use a special mouth guard or another dental appliance that interferes with thumb sucking.

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