Moms Expertise

How to stop toddler thumb sucking?

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1. Try to limit the time that your child sucks his thumb to his bedroom or in the house, not in public.

2. Don't turn it into a confrontation. "Don't tell your child, ‘You cannot suck your thumb anymore,Try to recognize him and praise him when he's not sucking his thumb instead of criticizing when he is.

3. Talk to your child about her thumb sucking or finger sucking. Help your child understand that when she is ready to stop, you will be there to help, She will eventually come to you and tell you, ‘Mommy, I don't want to suck my thumb anymore,' because you've empowered her to get there."

4. Don't prohibit your child if he tries to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. "He needs to be in his comfort zone, and by not letting him go there, you're only traumatizing him more.

5. Practice self-awareness with your child. "When your child is sucking his thumb, ask him, ‘Do you know you are sucking your thumb now? If he says no, help him recognize that, and find another way to soothe him if he needs it, like a blanket or stuffed animal."

6. Don't use the nasty-tasting stuff that is marketed to stop thumb sucking and finger sucking. It's just cruel.

7. Come up with creative ways to help your child understand that he is growing up and one day won't suck his thumb anymore. "Ask your child, ‘Do you think Bob the Builder sucks his thumb? Then they'll think about, and start to process whether they want to be sucking their thumbs anymore.

8. Don't try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. "This will just frustrate them and cause more anxiety, Likely, they're old enough to just take it off, and as a result, they'll just want to suck more.

9. Remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when he's good and ready. "While parents may not like it, it's best left alone.

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