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Thumb-Sucking Troubles

My daughter is almost four-years old and she is an avid thumb-sucker. She has been since she was teeny-tiny. I was a thumb-sucker too. I was emotionally scarred from my parents' attempts to make me stop. Instead of quitting, I clung to my thumb-sucking even more for comfort.

I don't want the same thing to happen to my daughter, but I am absolutely clueless how to gently help her to stop. And I do believe it is well past time to stop. If she had sucked on pacifiers, I would have taken those away years ago. A thumb just isn't so simple to take away.

Anyone have any brilliant ideas for me???


Shalee said...

I feel your pain! I was also emotionally scarred as a child from siblings and friends for my thumb-sucking habit. My daughter is almost 5 and she still sucks her thumb at night (or if she's resting during the day.) We did trick her into stopping for several months by putting a bandaid on her thumb constantly for a month as if it was no big deal to help a papercut heal. It worked and then we moved and she started sucking her thumb again and I didn't have the heart to take away her coping mechanism.

I'm glad you asked this question because I would love some advice as well! I'm hoping that saying things like "when you turn 5 we aren't going to suck our thumb anymore because 5 year olds don't do that." Or by giving positive reinforcement if she doesn't do it instead of nagging when she does.

Most everyone says that they just stop naturally but I don't think that will be the case for us.

mamaski said...

Hi everyone! Ok here is something you probably have not heard of but it is worth a is called "Thumbuddy To Love" and it teaches kids in a fun and positive way to quit thumb sucking...that is why i developed it because you never want to shame a child into quitting. It only makes them want to suck more! I was a thumb sucker too! Thumbuddy To Love comes with a book, thumb puppet and success chart and is sold in dentist offices, on Amazon and on
Give it a try...because nagging, bitter polishes do not work and kids learn best when it is fun and positive!

Cheryl D. said...

Hi! I'm visiting from UBP (you've already visited my blog!).

I do have a method, that I failed to market like mamaski (darn!). It's probably something very similar in approach. My daughter was a very avid thumbsucker and this method got her to quit. We did it over a year ago and she never regressed!

First, we got her on board. She was tired of being called "cry baby" at school and knew that the thumbsucking didn't help. We did a 2-throng approach. It was very simple. 1) We did a reward chart--with LOTS of rewards--over a 2-month period. During the first month, she'd get a sticker each day she didn't suck her thumb. She also got 50 cents for each sticker! Yay! At the end of each suck-free week, she'd get a present! At the end of the first month, she got a really big present! For the second month, we kept the weekly gifts and the big gift at the end of the month. Then we were done with the stickers. 2)Because it's a HABIT, we knew the stickers alone wouldn't be enough, so we wrapped her thumb with medical tape and kept it there! So, when she would bring her thumb to her mouth to suck, it would remind her not to!

I was surprised how easy it was to get her to stop. I saw her going for her thumb the first few days a total of only 3 times! She was pretty much done sucking her thumb completely after the first week! But we had promised her all her gifts, etc. so we did the 2-months of charts! LOL! It was probably a good idea, because it really broke the habit and stopped regression from happening!

Make it fun, make sure she's on board, and it should be an easy process!

mamaski said...

I am glad to hear the positive approach worked! Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

I remember stopping my thumb sucking habit. I wanted long pretty fingernails. I think I was five or so at the time - I remember my Mom using the bitter nail polish on me - but I still sucked my thumb at night or if the day was stressful. In other words, I didn't stop until I decided to stop. I think that is normal. My Mom did give me positive reinforcement by painting my fingernails, which helped remind me not to suck my thumb, but I don't remember that she made a big deal over it one way or the other. That probably helped. I was starting to get busy with other interests at that time anyway (school), so she could give me lots of positive feedback on my reading or whatever and divert attention from the whole issue of thumbsucking. JMHO