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Tips to stop child’s thumb sucking habit

Tips to stop child's thumb sucking habit

What is Thumb Sucking?

Thumb sucking is the action of children putting their thumb, mid fingers, last two fingers or any other part of hand and pacifier inside their mouth and/or sucking it. 

This is a very natural reflex action that begins before birth. It enables them to feel soothing, and secure.

How does the child feel while thumb sucking?

Babies suck on their fingers when they feel insecure. They calm and are relaxed, when they suck.

When to sorry about the habit?

Unto the age of 2-3 years, the habit will fade off eventually, and that is not be worried as a behavioural change or any nutrient deficiency. You can just remove their finger from their mouth and the child will forget the habit naturally.

If the child is able to understand to you, any soft toys can be introduced and their hands be kept engaged. You can also read them stories regarding thumb sucking, stating that the characters do not suck on their thumb. And may be that the characters have crooked teeth, due to thumb sucking and that they suffer to eat, explaining them with the help of pictures.

When children older than 4 years, still have the habit, then it is a serious concern. Their mouth alignment might be altered, teeth could become crooked, there would be disturbance in their eating habits and also in the way they speak.

In such situations, you can either apply any doctor prescribed gels, Neem oils or bitter guard juice on their sucking finger. Most importantly, you have to keep them feel secured, it doesn’t mean that you have cage them up and protect, instead you’ve to give them proper attention, not to scold them for their habit.

As an alternative, you can we give them positive reinforcement on not sucking their thumb, keep encouraging them against the habit. If the habit persists even after all this, it is advised that you take an advice from the paediatric dentist.

Can we use pacifier as an alternative?

You can use pacifier to a certain extend as an auxiliary, but eventually you can build stories stating that the pacifier has been lost or that some animal has stolen it, or even fake a search party to find the pacifier and divert the child.

Beyond all these, until the age of 6-7 years ensure that the child feels safe, secured and protected. And if the thumb sucking habit prolongs, consult a dentist and get their guidance.

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