Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Stop Thumb Sucking

You always hear stories of people who have problems stopping their children from sucking their thumbs. I recently heard one mom tell me that she has an eight year old daughter and she does not know how to stop thumb sucking. First you have to ask yourself, when does the child suck their thumb. Many times a child will suck their thumb when they are tired, bored and are in need of comfort.

There are all types of research numbers out there that suggest many children stop sucking their thumb on their own at the age of 5, which I believe is true. However, I may be alone on this, but I think 3 years old should be the cut off point of when a little ones needs to stop thumb sucking. Thumb sucking is a very cute habit; however it can quickly turn into a bad and addicting habit. If a parent doesn't watch for it or thinks it cute at the age of 5 or 6, they should go talk to a dentist. Thumb sucking will mess the child teeth really badly. The teeth will usually protrude outward and can have an effect on their speech. I've also heard from a dentist, that if you see an adult who does not have a developed chin, there is a good chance that that person was a thumb sucker at an early age in their life. Besides the physical aspect of trying to end thumb sucking; speech can sometimes be slowed down.

My son sucked his thumb until he was a few months away from turning 3. He never really talked, he always kept his thumb in his mouth and if he needed to say anything he would take it out only enough to get the sentence out. I also noticed that the other children were talking and pronouncing their words much better. That is why many parents (including myself) try; try, try and try to get teach their little ones how to stop thumb sucking.

Here are some home remedies that I have heard about and do NOT agree with, again these are remedies that I've seen online or heard. Most people will place something on the thumb; I've heard of hot sauce, Mavala, cologne, band-aids and even hair spray. I really think it's important to try a system that does not involve any type of chemical on the thumb - there are many times when a child will use that same thumb to wipe their eye and have it lead to a real bad sting or even an eye infection. There are better items to use to help stop thumb sucking.

There are several fun and unique products for parents that can help their little ones end thumb sucking. There are story books available with fun illustrations to help inspire little ones, there are many type of gloves as well; I've even seen puppets. You can check with your child's dentist to see if they have a guard available, the guard can be placed in the roof of the mouth which does not allow for a sucking action or even on the thumb that will help stop thumb sucking.

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