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Thumb Sucking At A Glance What You Need To Find Out About Children's Thumb Sucking

Updated on August 18, 2016
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A mother and a dedicated nurse who values children and family. A passionate writer aiming to help others by sharing my own experiences.

The Downside Risk Of Thumb Sucking

Consequently, when your child is over four years old the thumb sucking habit should be over. One obvious health risk is the increasing teeth and bone formation of the mouth and face. Another is a greater likelihood of unintended poisoning. Thumb sucking is not usually a sign of emotional insecurity it is as simple as little children do it because they enjoy it. I am sure if there is no satisfaction in sucking the thumb as little children will not be doing it and I really doubt if kids will even bother. Children seem to suck their thumbs more when they are tired or frustrated and it is a good way for them to soothe themselves to sleep. One of the main concerns with thumb sucking is it can cause teeth to become displaced and stick out.

  1. Thumb sucking is common in infants up to twenty-one months of age.
  2. Thumb sucking past the oral stage of your child development becomes an obsession and at a later stage, it generally indicates regression which is an emotional disturbance. Moreover sucking is an instinctive urge in infants.
  3. When your child sucks their thumb it means that they simply want to soothe themselves. Stressful events like a new brother or sister or a family break up can cause a child to suck on their thumb for comfort.

Children seem to suck their thumbs more when they are tired or frustrated and it is a good way for them to soothe themselves to sleep.
Children seem to suck their thumbs more when they are tired or frustrated and it is a good way for them to soothe themselves to sleep.

Did You Know?

Make sure that whatever happens that their thumb sucking is not the cause of your fight.
Make sure that whatever happens that their thumb sucking is not the cause of your fight.

How Can I Help My Child Stop Thumb Sucking?

For a child’s emotional well-being there is much to be said for leaving nature to cure this habit rather than engaging in tugs of war.

  • Below the age of four years, I believe that thumb sucking should just be ignored. You can always introduce other body movements to keep your child's attention elsewhere and it is a great way to modify their behavior.
  • Notice when the child goes for a period of time without sucking their thumb and make sure that you praise them and even reward them.
  • Make sure that whatever happens that their thumb sucking is not the cause of your fight otherwise the child will continue the behavior to annoy you.
  • If you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking you should see your dentist.

Your child is over five years old:

  • Explain in simple words that sucking their thumb is for babies and now that they are bigger and not a baby anymore there is no need to suck their thumbs like a baby.
  • Give subtle reminders to your child as this may be all he needs to kick the habit.
  • Use rewards like stars and small rewards and an extra bedtime story.
  • Explain that sucking is something babies need like bottles and diapers but now that he's getting bigger he does not need to suck his thumb or pacifier anymore.
  • As soon as your child is bored try and introduce a fun activity they can do such as painting and build some Lego blocks together.

Parents and Carers need to aware to ignore thumb sucking as it is harmless and will only give negative attention to the child.

Before you start wrestling with your toddler in an attempt to take the dummy away ask yourself if you really need to do anything.
Before you start wrestling with your toddler in an attempt to take the dummy away ask yourself if you really need to do anything.

Dummies And Pacifiers For Children

Many people dislike using dummies, however, there has been no evidence that they do any harm to children. Many say they are unhygienic but I can think of many other dirty things that a toddler can put in their mouth. There is no doubt that a dummy will participate in aiding in their sleep and soothe them in times of anxiety. So before you start wrestling with your toddler in an attempt to take the dummy away ask yourself if you really need to do anything.

When the time arrives and it is time to take the dummy away from your child be brave to make a decision and discard the dummy and be ready for the backlash. Be prepared for many hours or even days of trying to settle in without a dummy. And for those of you who did not have the courage to throw the dummy away try a little trick of damaging the dummy by cutting through to create a leak this will then be unattractive to the child.


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Strategies To Assist Your Child To Give Up Thumb Sucking

Children’s fears are very real to them whether it is realistic or not parents should understand and approach it with care. The biggest fear of a toddler is to be separated from their parents. Because of their fear of separation kids will recruit a number of comforting objects including a dummy. I believe that there is no need to wean toddlers off their dummy and their teddy bears or any of the fluffy things they carry around with them. This is the part of the magic of their age making your little toddler a little more special.

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