Should Parents Discourage Thumb Sucking?

stop thumb sucking

Before you decide to discourage your child from thumb sucking, there are important things that you should know. The natural desire of babies is to suck because it gives them comfort. When a baby reaches his or her third month, thumb sucking will usually begin.

Sucking is actually an inner drive for survival. According to studies, around 80% babies are into thumb sucking even when they are full. Most babies and children suck their thumbs when they are upset, sick, bored, or tired. However, it is not enough indication that the child has emotional problems and is insecure. There are also times when an object (e.g. blanket) becomes part of the habit, so instead of sucking the thumb, the baby/child may suck on the blanket or any other object.

When should parents discourage the habit? It wouldn’t be a good idea to discourage thumb sucking at a very early age. According to medical professionals, it is normal for babies to suck the strongest especially on the first six months. Very few babies continue the habit until age two. As long as your child is below one year of age, you don’t need to discourage the habit.

You can’t apply reasoning with a one year old. All your efforts and pressure will be met with lack of cooperation and resistance. All you can do is distract your child by giving him/her with other things to keep the hands busy. However, you should refrain from mentioning anything about thumb sucking.

Statistics also show that there are about 15% of four year olds that are into thumb sucking. These are the kids whose parents tried to discourage and stop the thumb sucking habit at a very early age. The power struggle encountered by these kids has led to the persisting habit of thumb sucking. If you don’t want this to happen to you, you need to educate yourself about the proper way of discouraging thumb sucking and when to begin.

If you are observant, you will notice that thumb sucking activities happen during the day and night. In fact, thumb sucking at bedtime or nap time is the hardest to correct. While you are starting to discourage the habit during the day, you can also address nighttime sucking. However, you have to do this gradually and don’t put too much pressure on your child.

Reasoning can be applied when your child is about five years. At this point, you can now talk to your child about the thumb sucking habit. Most kids will cooperate if you use the right approach. Don’t forget to praise your child whenever he/she is doing something else and not sucking the thumb. Your child will be able to associate the praises with not sucking his/her thumb. Soon enough, the habit will go away.

If you are interested in discouraging your child from thumb sucking, you should visit http://endthumbsucking.com to check out their small gloves that are specially designed to end the habit. These gloves are made from spandex material and are a good way to address uncontrolled thumb sucking.

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