Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thumb-sucking: Why It Happens and What To Do About It

Original article (by Beth Haiken) can be found at Babycenter.com.

Why children suck their thumbs

Kids suck their thumbs because it's comforting and calming. Your 2-year-old probably practiced this habit while he was still in the womb and perfected it as an infant. Now he turns to his thumb when he's tired, scared, bored, sick, or trying to adjust to challenges such as starting daycare or preschool for the first time or enduring long car rides. He may also use his thumb to fall asleep at bedtime and to lull himself back to slumber when he wakes up in the middle of the night.


What to do about thumb-sucking

Don't worry too much. Although you may fret that thumb-sucking is hurting your 2-year-old's teeth or jaw, children can safely suck their thumbs until age 3 or 4, according to the American Dental Association. Keep in mind, too, that not all thumb-sucking is equally damaging; experts say it's the intensity of the sucking and the tongue's thrust that deforms teeth and makes braces necessary later. Kids who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than children who suck aggressively. So watch your child and analyze his technique. If he sucks vigorously, you may want to begin curbing his habit earlier, say when he turns 3.

Let it go. Punishing your 2-year-old or nagging him to get his thumb out of his mouth won't help, because he probably doesn't even realize he's doing it. Techniques such as putting elastic bandages on his thumb will seem like unjust punishment, especially since he indulges in the habit for comfort and security. Plus, as is often the case with 2-year-olds, pressuring him to stop may intensify his desire to do it even more. In any event, kids usually give up thumb-sucking when they've found other ways to calm and comfort themselves. If your child tends to suck his thumb when he's hungry, for instance, within a year or two he'll learn to simply open the fridge and look for something to eat, or ask you for a snack instead.

Bait and switch. If you can identify times and places when your 2-year-old is particularly likely to suck his thumb — while watching television, for instance — you might try giving him a substitute, such as a rubber ball to squeeze or finger puppets to play with. If he tends to suck his thumb when he's tired, you might consider letting him doze for longer in the afternoon or moving up his bedtime a bit. Or if he turns to his thumb when he's frustrated, help him put his feelings into words. The key is to notice when and where sucking occurs and to divert his attention by offering an alternative. Together, you and your child can find solutions that will — eventually — help him kick the thumb habit.




My Petit Pwince the Thumb-sucker








I have to agree with the article above on the probability of Nuaym already sucking on his LEFT thumb when he was still staying in my tummy.

When he was born, I tried pacifying him with a pacifier to prevent him from sumbat-ing his thumb into his tiny mouth. He did suck on the pacifier for a few seconds but soon afterwards, he spitted it out and sucked on his thumb instead. So that didn't work.

Tried putting on mittens on both his hands (that was during my confinement period) but somehow he managed to take them off and went for his thumb, looking very much contented and comforted. Another failed attempt on my part. *sigh* You know, I actually tried doing this many times. And as you can see, I had failed miserably.

I am actually a teeny bit concerned if all these thumb-sucking "nyot-nyot-nyot" activities are the main reason his front teeth have become somewhat mancung. Hmmm.

...

But then again, better thumb-sucking than this...



Ohhhh tidaaaaaaakkkk!!! *shudder*


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