Have a Thumb Sucker? How to Put the Sucking to Rest

thumb suck

 

If you have a toddler or child who sucks their thumb and you want to get them to stop, it can seem like a virtually impossible task. Not only do children suck their thumbs out of habit but also as a way to comfort them when they are feeling sad or anxious. And although this habit is quite cute when they are infants, thumb sucking can be detrimental to their oral health later on by causing their teeth and jaw to shift. From redirecting their attention elsewhere to politely talking to them about it, this article will discuss a few methods that you can use in order to get your child to stop sucking their thumb. Read on to learn more.

Redirect Their Attention
As mentioned above, children suck their thumb not only out of habit but also as a means of comfort in order to help ease their anxieties. In order to get your child to stop sucking their thumb, redirect their attention to something else when they start to feel tired, anxious, or sad. For instance, rather than having them suck their thumb, try getting them a stuffed animal that they can hold onto when they are feeling any of these emotions. Once they start to suck on their thumb, gently take their thumb out of their mouth and hand them the stuffed animal instead. Continuously repeat until it starts to become habit.

Talk to Them About It
If your child is a little bit older, around 3 or 4, and they are still sucking their thumb, try talking to them about it. Let them know that sucking their thumb is bad for their teeth and that big kids don’t suck their thumbs. When talking to them make sure not to put them down or make them feel bad about sucking their thumb, but rather emphasize the fact that they are getting older and older kids don’t suck their thumbs because they have teeth.

If you have a thumb sucker and are nervous about getting them to stop sucking their thumb, you aren’t alone. In fact, it can be quite a challenge to get a child to quit. However, by directly their attention elsewhere and talking to them about it in a calm way, you can help to get them to stop sucking their thumb for good. To learn more about pediatric dental care or tips, contact McDowell Dental Group today!

Posted in: Oral Health

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