Hello Mamas and dads -to -be. How are you today? I hope you all doing great! Thumb sucking is no habit any parent want their child to adopt. It is not a good habit when you think about the fact that it is the main source of germs transfer as your child grows. Children are always in the mood for touching everything. It is a common habit among children and can be very difficult to break. I have 2 daughters who used to do it , so I know what some of your are going through. Many children develop this habit in the womb, while others acquire it out. Children often develop this habit to sooth themselves for comfort or to fall asleep. We included valuable products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Thank you for your consideration.
Why are children prone to sucking their finger?
Normal rooting and sucking reflexes in babies may cause them to bring their thumbs or fingers into their mouths before they are born. Since thumb sucking gives babies a sense of security, some babies can make a habit of thumb sucking when they need to be soothed or fall asleep.
How long does sucking finger last?
Nobody knows. With every child it is different. I had one who stopped at the age of 13, and one who stopped at age 23!! So as you can see this can be a very hard habit to break.
By the age of 6 or 7 months, or between the ages of 2 and 4, many children have stopped sucking their thumbs on their own.
Just because a child has stopped sucking his or her thumb, he or she can revert to the habit when stressed.
Thumb sucking for an extended period of time may cause issues with mouth growth and tooth alignment. It may also cause changes in the mouth’s roof. Some aggressive thumb suckers may cause problems with their primary(baby) teeth. I can testify to this because one of my daughters needed costly braces badly. No joke!
Is it better to use a pacifier vs. sucking finger?
Sucking on fingers and thumbs may have the same effect on teeth as using a pacifier. However, using a pacifier often is a behavior that is easier to break. If you give a child a pacifier, make sure it’s clean. Never put sugar, honey, or other sweeteners on a pacifier before feeding it to a baby. Between the ages of 2 and 4, most children quit sucking their thumbs or other fingers on their own. Personally, I prefer the pacifier because you can easily remove the pacifier but the finger will always be there. (Promotional link).
However, sucking on fingers and thumbs may have the same effect on teeth as using a pacifier. However, using a pacifier often is a behavior that is easier to break. If you give a child a pacifier, make sure it’s clean. Never put sugar, honey, or other sweeteners on a pacifier before feeding it to a baby. Between the ages of 2 and 4, most children quit sucking their thumbs or other fingers on their own. While some experts advise treating sucking habits before the age of three, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, care is normally reserved for children who continue to suck after the age of five.
According to the American Dental Association, children who suck their thumbs after the age of six (when their permanent teeth come in) will affect their mouth’s growth and alignment.
Many of the issues associated with thumb sucking can be avoided or reversed, according to the writers of one case reportTrusted Source, but some children will still need orthodontic treatment after the habit is broken.
Skills to break the Habit of finger sucking.
1. Have a talk with your child
There are plenty of strategies and products that may help. These strategies work best for older children who want to stop. Many children are not aware that thumb sucking is unacceptable.
2. Learn about the habit with your child
- You can learn with your child about breaking the habit of sucking finger. You can read the following books with your little star, Dana’s Finger is Set Free Plus Toolbox For breaking thumb-sucking habit
- Thumbs Up, Brown Bear (Hello Genius)
- I Can Do It – I Don’t Need My Thumb: Mindful Methods For Kids (Stop Thumb Sucking)
- Dana’s Finger Is Set Free (Self-Reliance Books for Kids)
3. Use a Hand Guard
This stops your child from reaching their mouth. Many kits designed to physically deter your child from sucking their thumb are available online. Some are made of plastic, while others are more flexible. Here is another tool you can consider trying, TGuard AeroFinger, Treatment Kit to Stop Finger Sucking (Small).
On the plus side, they’re toxin free and mostly childproof, meaning your child won’t be able to take them off. The disadvantages are that they are very visible and can make it difficult for your kid to play or feed themselves. (Promotional link).
4. Build your child’s confidence: Tell them they can do it!
If your child sucks his or her thumb out of habit rather than to gain attention, kindly ask him or her to stop. When your child isn’t thumb sucking, praise him or her or give him or her small incentives, such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park. Set attainable targets, such as not sucking your thumb for an hour before going to bed. Stickers on a calendar can be used to monitor the days that your child has effectively avoided finger sucking.
5. Support in other ways to your child’s stress.
6. Offer rewards or incentives
Reward schemes are tricky because they don’t work with all children and are difficult to phase out once they do. Still, a visual illustration of their success (such as stickers or small tokens) and the ability to win rewards or privileges for each day they go without sucking their thumb will inspire some children.
7. Try a competing habit
You may use the opposing habit theory for a child over the age of four. Instead of sucking his thumb, teach your child how to fold his arms, pinch his thumb, or make another move that he loves. The game of hide the thumb is one that I’ve used effectively in my office: “As soon as you feel like sucking your thumb, curl your fingers around it and make a fist.”
8. Intervene when your child prefers to suck finger than socialize
Consider if your child needs a social boost if you see him withdrawing from group play and playing with his thumb instead of other children. Rather than focusing on the finger sucking, investigate the underlying self-esteem issue that could be interfering with his social interactions. Consult a specialist if you need assistance in this area.( promotional link).
9. Chart- a -finger suck
A child over the age of seven may decide to quit finger sucking for her own reasons once peer pressure begins. Offer to assist her in creating a chart so she can keep track of how many times she sucks per day on her own. She’ll be inspired as she watches the number decrease. You are not required to keep an eye on her, remind her, or track her charting.
10. Know that God cares for you!
Ask God to help you as you prepare to try these skills. Everything that concerns us is important to God.
Finger sucking can be challenging for both parents and child. Persistence is the key. You may find other strategies that might work for you as you try these. Finger sucking is an unacceptable habit because it can cause, low self esteem, mouth changes that require dental assistance, the entrance of germs to mouth. A pacifier might be a better option. As you go through know that God is for you and will fight for you to win.
Thank you for coming today. I hope that you were encouraged to not give up the fight to win. Normally, children as they grow do phase off the urge to suck their finger. My daughters got ridiculed and teased when the were caught doing it. This helped them to make the decision to stop. Feel free to like, or comment and thank you for stopping by. I invite you to visit my social media platform @
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