Popular Treats that Prevent Thumb Sucking

About 90 percent of babies suck their thumb. This is a completely normal habit. It starts to become worrying when the behavior continues into early childhood. Extended periods of thumb sucking can have very detrimental effects on the formation of teeth and the jaw. Getting your child to not suck their thumb can be quite a demanding task.

Understand that this behavior is not going to go away overnight. Taking small steps to slowly reduce the thumb sucking will have much better results. Try limiting the behavior to certain times of day or a specific location. If this is successful, move on from there. Do not try to skip past your child’s comfort level.

Older children suck their thumb for comfort. Substituting the thumb sucking behavior for an alternate is a great first step away from the behavior. Try starting out with a pacifier. Use this occasionally and very sparingly. Try keeping your child’s hands occupied during waking hours with games and toys. If they need a reminder to not suck their thumb, use something fun such as a sticker or nail polish on that hand. At night children tend to suck their thumb unintentionally in their sleep. You may need to use something a little more substantial such as a mitten or sock. Be sure this is totally ok with your child before you try it. You never want to force the issue.

Reprimanding your child for thumb sucking may cause frightened feelings that increase the urge to soothe through thumb sucking. Using a positive reinforcement method is a much more effective way of encouraging your child to stop the bad habit. Instead of becoming angry when you notice the undesired behavior, praise your child when you see them engaging in alternate behaviors. This will make them feel good about not sucking their thumb instead of feeling bad for engaging in the behavior. Encouraging good feelings is a far better way to mold behavior.

The best way to end thumb sucking behavior in children is to reward them with plenty of praise and treats. The treat that your child will most respond to depends on their interests and preferences. Treats should be small and frequent to encourage the continuance of the desired behavior. Small toys featuring a beloved cartoon character, dinner at a favorite restaurant and fun books are all really great rewards for your child. Sugary treats should be used in moderation as they can cause tooth decay.

Author Bio

Lyndsi Decker is a freelance writer and is currently promoting dental marketing at Dentrix.com. She is also a mother of two and enjoys blogging about parenting.