Why Thumb-Sucking May Be Bad For Kids And What Parents Can Do To Help

Family & Kids

December 19, 2017 15:18 By Mambee

When it comes to whether or not thumb-sucking is good for a child, it usually just depends on the age.

For infants, thumb or finger-sucking is a natural habit that often starts in the womb. It offers your baby comfort and as time goes on, it becomes his coping mechanism as he deals with anxiety and separation. It can even help him fall asleep.

As he grows into the toddler stage, it can help keep him calm if he feels stressed when being exposed to new environment, activities and people. So, in this case, thumb-sucking can be a good thing.

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However, when the child gets to preschool age, it is important for parents to take action to put a stop to the habit. In most cases, some children even lose interest all on their own by age two. But if by age four or five, your child still depends on sucking his thumb, then it may be time to encourage him to stop.

READ ALSO: How To Decode Toddlers’ Body Language To Better Communicate With Them

Thumb/finger-sucking may lead to major issues with tooth growth as his permanent teeth begin to erupt and can affect the proper alignment of the teeth and mouth.

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How to get kids to stop sucking

  • Sometimes, kids form this habit without even realising it. You can remind her gently to stop if you notice she does it unconsciously.
  • If he sucks his thumb as a reaction to stress, offer comfort in other ways when you notice the trigger.
  • Positive reinforcement can also help. Praise her and offer small incentives if she stops. She can get an extra bedtime story or a special outing. You can keep track of her progress with stickers on a calendar to continually encourage her.
  • If nothing seems to work, you may consider letting nature take its course. Putting too much pressure on your child to quit the habit can increase anxiety and make the situation even worse. In most cases, peer pressure will put an end to thumb-sucking in older children.

READ ALSO: From Crib To Toddler Bed: 10 Tips To Ease The Transition

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The important thing is to be patient with your child. Like smoking often is for adults, thumb-sucking can sometimes be a difficult habit to stop. But offering encouragement and gentle words can help your child.

Source: FamilyShare

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice. Mambee doesn’t take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this post. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the readers should consult with their physician or other healthcare providers.