What you Need to Know About Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids !

What you Need to Know About Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids !

24-07-2017   |   Posted By: Chhavi   |   1248 View(s)

Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids and the Possible ways to Change It?

Many kids have the thumb sucking habit, and it sometimes becomes challenging for the parents to break this habit. Thumb sucking is very common in kids, and Doctors say that children develop this habit to calm down, feel good or to fall asleep.

Why do Kids develop Thumb Sucking Habit?

Babies have natural rooting and sucking reflexes, which makes them put their thumbs or fingers into their mouths. Thumb sucking makes babies feel safe and secure, and thus some kids eventually develop a habit of thumb or finger sucking when they want to relax themselves or need to go to sleep.

How long does the habit usually last?

Generally, kids stop sucking their thumbs and fingers on their own between ages 2 and 4. Many times older kids end this practice due to peer pressure at school. However, parents must remember that even though if a child has stopped sucking his or her thumb, the child may revert to the behaviour during stressful events.

Thumb Sucking

How is Thumb Sucking Habit Bad for Kid’s Health?

Even though sucking thumb or fingers provide comfort and a sense of safety to the kids, and most kids stop the habit between the ages of 3 and 6. However, if the kids suck their thumbs even after 6 years of age, then this practice may lead to several health consequences.

Thumb sucking may lead to dental problems, speech difficulties low self-esteem and self-confidence in kids.

When should the Parents Intervene?

Usually, thumb sucking is not a serious concern for parents because most kids leave the habit by themselves at a certain age. However, if the child sucks thumb aggressively and vigorously, then it might be a problem as it can cause problems in baby’s teeth. Also, if the kid sucks thumb after turning 5; then the parents must intervene and Consult a Paediatrician.

What can be done to make the kid stop Thumb Sucking?

Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids

A.Identify the Triggers

Before trying to stop the thumb sucking habit in the kids, try to determine what triggers this behaviour. Once you identify the triggers, it will help you be prepared to take action at that time so that you can stop your kid from sucking thumb.

For instance, see if the kid suck thumb while watching TV or going to bed? Does the child suck thumb when he or she gets a scolding? Observe the child’s behaviour closely; that will help you identify the exact cause of this habit. Once you know what triggers this behaviour, try to provide comfort in other ways such as motivating words or a warm hug. For instance, if the kid has a habit of sucking thumb before going to sleep, parents can give their child a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.

B.Practice Motivational Techniques

Explaining to your child why thumb sucking is a bad habit may prove very beneficial for parents who want to keep their children away from this habit. Constant reminders for stopping this practise will not help you and your kids; as children are quite logical and want specific reasons for everything.

So, it is better to give them the reasons for stopping this habit. Parents can explain to their kids that thumb sucking can damage their teeth, and then they will look funny and will not be able to enjoy their favourite hard candies. Tell them that this habit also causes speech problems and that they won’t be able to speak properly at their school.

How to Nurture Emotional Intelligence in Kids?

This way, explain to them all the dangerous consequences of thumb sucking and make them understand how this habit will affect their life and enjoyment. By giving real-life examples, kids will learn in a better way and will eventually stop sucking thumb.

Also, motivate your child on a regular basis to stop the habit. Do not punish them when they suck their thumbs, rather when you see your child sucking thumb; sit with your kid and ask what is bothering him or her, and together create a solution.

Be your child’s best friend and instead of nagging or punishing; keep motivating them with a calm tone to stop the habit.

C. Be Patient

Parents have to remember that any practice does not go in a day or two; so they must maintain their calm and help their kids stop the habit of sucking thumb.

Parents can also reward their kids and practice positive reinforcement to motivate kids to stop thumb sucking.

Also, parents have to keep in mind that they should not prohibit their child if he or she tries to suck thumb after being hurt or injured. It is because Doctors say that kids need to be in their comfort zone when they get hurt, and by not letting them go there, parents traumatise the kids more.

So, the best way is to be patient for a while and let the child be relaxed. Then parents can talk to the kids, and talk about the problem and come up with a solution to their problem.

Thumb sucking in kids can annoy parents and make them constantly worry about kid’s health. However, parents must understand that this practice goes eventually when children grow older and so the best they can do is motivate their children to stop it. If your child is above five years of age and has not stopped thumb sucking, it’s time to Visit a Paediatrician.

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