Assist Your Son Or Daughter Kick The Thumb Sucking Habit: Essential Parenting Advice

Dear Lazywebs: where is this image from?
Thumb sucking is a concern lots of parents have. Toddlers suck their thumbs because it’s calming and comforting. It’s very likely something they did before they were born and revert back to it when they are agitated, nervous, scared or ill. They may also use it to lull themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night.

Parents shouldn’t concern themselves unless it continues after the age their permanent teeth start to appear, around six years old. Experts say that it’s the intensity of the thumb sucking and the tongue’s thrust that deforms teeth and makes braces necessary later. Children who rest their thumb passively in their mouth are less likely to have difficulty than kids who suck aggressively. If you’re concerned, closely monitor your son or daughter and analyze their technique. If they appear to be sucking strongly, you may want to start curbing their habit.

Punishing or nagging your son or daughter to stop won’t help because it’s generally an automatic response. Attempting to curb it by putting an elastic bandage on their thumb or another method will seem like an unjust punishment, especially since they indulge in the habit for comfort and security.

Try to wait it out. Children generally give up thumb-sucking when they’ve found other ways to calm and comfort themselves. Think about offering them other alternatives to comfort themselves such as a soft blanket or lullaby toy.

The key is to notice when and where they are likely to suck their thumbs and offer an alternative. If it happens while they are tired, try giving more naps. If they suck their thumb often while watching television, try to distract them with a toy that will keep their hands occupied.

Older children may need gentle reminders to curtail thumb sucking while in public, and praise should be given freely when the child finds and uses an acceptable alternative. Your child’s pediatric dentist can offer other suggestions for helping your son or daughter kick the thumb sucking habit.

If there is one stage of toddler development that seems to fill many parents with dread then it has to be toilet training. I think this originates from our own parents and grandparents telling us tales of woe about their own experiences of toilet training their children. But that was ages ago and knowledge about child development has grown dramatically. That means that your experience of toilet training can be very different from that of your mother or grandmother. The key is to follow a reputable toilet training program. And that actually starts well before you introduce your child to a potty. Check out the following articles for further advice
toilet training boys
potty training tips
tips for potty training boys
And the guidance applies equally well whether you are toilet training a boy or girl.

Creative Commons License photo credit: sylvar

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