According to the beliefs of the old folks, children who thumb suck demonstrates a good character yet in reality according to clinical studies it is very common among babies as they have natural thumb sucking reflexes, that cause them to put their thumbs into their mouths which is normal even before birth at times.
The natural urge to suck among babies normally decreases after the age of 6 months. However, some kids continue to suck their thumbs to soothe themselves, as it’s their way to comfort and calm themselves when they feel hungry, sleepy, scared, bored or restless. When your baby turns 1 year old and still continues the habit of thumb sucking, then it’s about time to help him break the habit.
According to pediatricians, children who suck their thumbs often after the age of 4 can impose risks for dental and speech problems. Thumb sucking may lead to improper growth and formation of the teeth, moreover speech problems include not being able to say Ts and Ds or the child lisps and thrusts out the tongue when talking.
Home treatment measures can be done to help your kid break the practice.
Put away security blankets and other items your child associates with thumb sucking.
Wrapping the thumb with an adhesive bandage can help remind your kid not to suck the thumb.
Never scold or punish your child when you caught him sucking his thumb especially in front of other people. It will only lower his self-esteem; instead patiently keep on reminding him the cons of the habit.
Praise and rewards offering may help him break the manner. Marking the calendar with stars each day that your child doesn’t suck his thumb will motivate him to stop doing it.
Divert his attention not to suck his thumb by offering him an alternative. When he watches the television, you may give him a ball to squeeze.
Weaken the habit by distracting him, when its bedtime let him hold and hug a stuff toy that uses both of his hands while you are reading him a book.
Help your child break the habit at an early age, have patience, give your kid enough time to stop on their own. If the home treatment measures mentioned above do not work, talk with your child’s pediatrician for other treatment options.