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How can you get your baby out of thumb sucking habit?

Thumb sucking is a behavior that can be seen in children up to the age of 3-4 without any pathological factors, but it is not considered right for an older child to still suck their thumb. The habit of thumb sucking is a habit that usually starts with the desire to eat and continues. At the same time, babies or children often do this behavior to fall asleep and relax. Finger sucking, which is normal for the first 1-2 years, is expected to disappear after the age of 2. Sucking the thumb constantly leads to crooked teeth, irritation of the finger skin, curvature, cracking and infections in the finger. So, how to quit thumb sucking habit? Here is the answer…

What are the causes of thumb sucking?

  • Providing relief during teething
  • Early weaning from breast milk
  • Dissatisfaction with sucking instinct as a result of using pacifier, bottle
  • Fear, need for anxiety, worry and security
  • Lack of love and interest
  • Boredom and embarrassment
  • To feel comfortable and safe
  • News of a new sibling

How to stop the habit of thumb sucking?

  • It is not right to talk about thumb sucking behavior in the family and to constantly criticize the child for this behavior.
  • The family should not be alarmed about these behaviors, and should not get nervous and reflect this tension on the child.
  • Parents and teachers constantly warning and criticizing the child, and the people around him and his friends making fun of the child do not eliminate this behavior, on the contrary, it reinforces it.
  • The important thing is to investigate and uncover the problem causing this behavior. When the cause is known, it will be possible to take measures about the source of the problem and the behavior can be eliminated more easily.
  • Finger sucking behavior that occurs in early ages decreases as age progresses. For this reason, treatment should be avoided in the first childhood period and the behavior should be waited patiently for its own disappearance.
  • Punishment is not a healthy way to extinguish behavior. Punishments such as rubbing hot pepper on the finger, sticking a needle, and beating may cause the child to try to continue the behavior in order to make the parents uneasy.
  • Approaching the child with interest and love about this situation and sharing your feelings about this situation can prevent the behavior. The child can be talked about this habit, and it can be ensured that he decides when to stop this behavior.
  • When the child exhibits thumb-sucking behavior, he/she will give toys etc. to his/her hand. The child’s attention can be diverted by giving the child a gift or by doing activities that he will enjoy.
  • If he is sucking his thumb while sleeping, his finger can be pulled from his mouth after sleeping.
  • If the child is sucking his thumb to relax before sleep, relaxing activities such as exercise and reading can be done before sleep.
  • Behavior modification in changing finger sucking behavior can also benefit from a gradual approach.

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