Thumb sucking!!!!

Laura - posted on 01/17/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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Any suggestions on how to get my 4 year old to stop sucking her thumb?

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Louise - posted on 01/21/2009

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Quoting Meaghan:



Why? I sucked my thumb until I was 8. My dad used to threaten that he's stick it in dog poop and a bunch of other unpleasantries.






I didn't suck it on a regular basis, but when I was tired in she'd go. I can remember laying my head down on my desk in Grade 3 and sucking my thumb with the other arm over my head so noone would see.






One day, I just stopped. I have perfectly straight teeth and they are this way without any dental appliance.






Wen she's ready, she'll stop.





 

42 Comments

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Elizabeth - posted on 01/23/2014

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My two year old girl sucks her thumb has since she was a baby how can I get her to quit

Jennifer - posted on 02/02/2009

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Quoting Louise:



This is going to sound really stupid, but give her a soother. You can try that bite it stuff, or wrapping her thumb at night, (which doesn't work), but honestly the best way is to get her into the soother instead and then toss it. You can't cut off her thumb, lol. I am 27 and still do it... I know it's aweful, but I really wish someone would have stopped me before I grew up! lol. I am putting my son on a soother at birth to avoid the whole situation. No thumbs in the mouth allowed!






Good luck,






louise






 





 



My son had a soother from birth and he still sucks his thumb and he has access to a soother all day, they will do it if they want and if you still do it it cant be that bad, it obviously gives you comfort or something. My son will be 5 months in and week and a half!

Caroline - posted on 02/02/2009

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Thank you for your help, I didn't know what and how bad this was for them. I did research online and found a product called Thumbguard, its a product that is put on the finger and strapped around the wrist. www.thumbguard.net

Teresa - posted on 01/21/2009

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My daughter still sucked her thumb in Kindergarten. At night was the worst. So at nighttime we would put a band-aid on each thumb and that helped her to stop sucking them.

Dahana - posted on 01/21/2009

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Like Tina I am working on getting my daughter to stop sucking her thumb on her birthday. She will be 5 tomorrow and we have a deal to stop sucking. She doesn't know but I will let her open this doll she has but was never opened. I think tomorrow I will let her in on this.

Louise - posted on 01/21/2009

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i Agree i sucked til i was 12 i have nice straight teeth and i have all my teeth.
She will stop on her own.

Andrea - posted on 01/21/2009

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Louise,



My oldest daughter sucked her thumb no matter what we tried. We managed to keep her from doing it while we were in the room, but anytime we were in another room, in it would go. It was totally subconscious. We tried everything anyone could come up with, and it didn't work. Mostly because I don't think she was aware that she was even doing it, and bringing it to her attention didn't help things. Her teeth were so bad by the age of 10 that the dentist said she HAD to have braces (we kept putting it off until the age of 11 because of the cost vs still thumb sucking). At first, the Ortho actually thought they would have to break the roof of her mouth to re-form it correctly! Thankfully the xrays showed otherwise, but talk about scary!



So long story short, we didn't want to put braces on until she learned to stop sucking her thumb, but then the Ortho said the magic sentence........The braces will make it too uncomfortable for her to put her thumb in her mouth, and if that alone doesn't stop her, we actually have a guard that can be attached to the back side of her teeth, and that will make it impossible for her to get her thumb in there........Let me tell you, I think the heavens opened up, and the angels started singing! Cause that was the best news I had heard in a loooong time. She's had the braces on for about 6 months now, and even without the extra guard, she no longer sucks her thumb, and her teeth/mouth are reforming wonderfully! I think that by the time they finally come off, she will be "broken" of the habit (fingers crossed).



My advice to other parents is to stop it the second you see them doing it. From the very beginning. Even as an infant, pull it out of their mouth! Like someone else said, you can always take away a pacifier. You can't get rid of the thumb! It is a VERY bad habit, and can cause MAJOR issues with speech, eating, etc. You don't want to go down this road if you don't have to! There are plenty of other self soothing methods that can be used.



So far, none of my other kids have done this, and they all have perfect teeth!........keeping my fingers crossed that the 6th one (due in April) doesn't want to do this either!







Laura,

One thing that was suggested to me that we never tried (she was too old for this to work by the time it was suggested) was to duct tape (sp?) oven mits onto her hands at night so she physically couldn't get to her thumb. (by 9 when it was suggested, she could have just taken off the tape with her teeth if she wanted to, so it was useless to try, but a four year old probably wouldn't be able to get it off.) It sounds harsh, but when you've run the gammit of ideas to stop the thumb sucking, and you can SEE the damage it's doing/has done, you start to get desperate. Aaaaand oven mits are a heck of a lot cheaper than braces! lol



Good luck!

Andrea

[deleted account]

Why do you want to get her to stop? This is important in how to go about it. Also important is how long she has been doing it. Of my five kids, I only had one thumb-sucker, but her ultrasound pictures showed her sucking her thumb. I can tell you how that went, but if there is some reason other than that is just what is natural to her for her doing it, I don't think it will help. But why you want her to stop is the key to how to get her to.

Meaghan - posted on 01/20/2009

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Why? I sucked my thumb until I was 8. My dad used to threaten that he's stick it in dog poop and a bunch of other unpleasantries.



I didn't suck it on a regular basis, but when I was tired in she'd go. I can remember laying my head down on my desk in Grade 3 and sucking my thumb with the other arm over my head so noone would see.



One day, I just stopped. I have perfectly straight teeth and they are this way without any dental appliance.



Wen she's ready, she'll stop.

User - posted on 01/20/2009

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We read a great book with our daughter called David Decides-- you can get it on amazon. Provides different ways to stop and then our daughter picked the way that was best for her-- she cut all the fingers off a glove except the thumb and wore it to sleep, watch TV and in the car. Took about a week and she threw out the glove and has been thumb-free ever since

Liza - posted on 01/20/2009

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my nephew was really bad with the thumb sucking. my sister put bandaids on his thumb. she also put yucky tasting stuff on his thumb and on the bandaid. it worked for them and he doesnt do it anymore. it my take a while before you notice a result though

User - posted on 01/20/2009

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What worked with mine was two things.  During the day, constant reminding, holding a toy while watching tv, not laying down and watching tv, sitting on hands while watching tv.  At night, I bought one of those elastic bandages that you slip your arm into up to the elbow, a brace kind of, any way, when my son would go to sleep with his thumbs in his mouth, he had to use a few extra muscles keeping his arms bent at the elbow.  When he fell asleep, presto, his arms naturally came out when he couldn't flex them any longer.  He quit shortly after that.

Ande - posted on 01/20/2009

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My 18-month-old son sucked his thumb so much that a callous grew on his knuckle, and when I told him that it would go away if he stopped sucking his thumb, and that it would hurt soon because of his teeth, he stopped by himself.  It's kind of cruel, but if your daughter attends pre-school or is in a playgroup, the peer pressure may make her stop, too. 

Lynda - posted on 01/20/2009

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Hi All.  I feel that each child is different.  A certain method would work for 1 child, but the same method would not work for another child.  Try and feel what method would work on your child.  The hot sauce method did not work for my son because he liked it.  My son hates band aids.  He had gotten some cracks on his thumb because of sucking it.  I put a band aid on it and made sure he kept it on.  He stopped that night.  Every once in a while I see him putting his thumb back in his mouth, but just a reminder helps now.    Good Luck and hopefully one of the helpful hints you are getting on this page will help you!

Christina - posted on 01/20/2009

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Hi Laura
I told my 6 year old that I would buy her a toy. Is it a bribe, absolutely, but I thought it would be cheaper and less painful than braces. She could go to Target and pick out pretty much whatever she wanted, within reason. She was allowed to put it in her room, but could not take it out of the package until she stopped sucking her thumb. I would let her hold her toy for a few minutes every day or when she asked, but ONLY for a few minutes then back on the shelf it went. It took a month and half, but she did it. And this was after we tried everything else, stuff on the fingers, gloves at night, etc. ALOT of gentle reminders. Good luck. I know it's frustrating.

Brandi - posted on 01/20/2009

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my daughter just stopped sucking her thumb she is six and she lost a couple teeth they are growing in a little crooked so we told her she would need braces and if she got them she can't have candy or any more gum and she stopped sucking her thumb she doesnt want braces we tryd everything else and this is the only thing that worked for us ive also heard of painting with nail polish

Tina - posted on 01/20/2009

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We tried everything with one of my boys. This is going to sound disgusting but it worked. He was 7 and we told him if he was caught sucking his thumb again we would put dog poo on it. Well, of course he got caught a couple hours later, without a word, my husband walked out the back door, stopped by the kitchen on the way a got a spoonful of peanut butter in his hand and came in the front door, grabbed his hand and smeared the peanut butter all over his thumb. He never had a chance to smell it, he was in the restroom so quick washing it off. And NEVER put his thumb back in his mouth.

I wish it would have worked for my 12 year old, she still sucks hers.

Good Luck.

Angela - posted on 01/20/2009

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our friends daughter had a device in her mouth. Looked kinda like a retainer, or a spacer, that prevented the thumb sucking, or sucking of any kind other than a straw. .. maybe that if you can afford it, or if insurance covered it...

User - posted on 01/20/2009

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Ok, use this one with caution. Each morning, dip her thumb in nail polish remover and then dry it off lightly. The tiniest taste of it will keep her from sucking. HOWEVER, if for some odd reason the bitter taste doesn't bother her and she sucks anyways, clean the polish remover off. It was actually advice from my doctor but she said doing it too often, to a child who doesn't mind the taste...is a big no-no, there's alcohol in that stuff. It worked for us almost instantly.

Try it yourself first, its gross.

Kris - posted on 01/20/2009

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My son is almost 2, I really hate it and tried the binky but he never took to them.  I was told to just leave them alone and not harp on it and they will stop on their own. But so far that is not working out for us.  I guess we might have to start having a talk about this in a few months to see if we can stop.



Kris Munson



Work At Home United!



No Selling, No Parties, No Inventory, No Risk!!!



For More info:   



 

Louise - posted on 01/20/2009

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I would like to confirm what was just said. Again, avid thumb sucker here, and at a young age I had 6 teeth removed to accomidate for the space loss. It is not fun! I only have 24 teeth in my mouth!



Get your kids off the thumb!



louise

[deleted account]

Hi Laura!  I'm a dental hygienist, and I see quite a few children who are still sucking their thumb at this age.  Helping her stop this habit is really important!  Unfortunately, by age 4, alot of the damage is already done as far as changes in the shape of the mouth.  I would talk to her dentist, and when she is old enough (usually by age 6), have them refer you to an orthodontist who sees younger children, and does earlier treatment with expanders.  (Some orthodontists prefer to wait until all the permanent teeth are in---age 12 or older, then pull 4 teeth before doing braces.  Earlier treatment consists of using appliances to expand the palate while the children are growing, and make enough room in the mouth to accomadate all of the teeth).  In the case of thumb suckers, I prefer them to have early ortho treatment.  If she's still sucking her thumb by the time she sees an orthodontist, they can make an appliance that has a metal piece that prevents the thumb or fingers from going into the mouth.  (Not too pretty, but it does the trick!)



And, at the risk of irritating many moms who are reading this, I will also add my two cents about pacifiers and sippy cups.  While not as damaging as prolonged thumb sucking, using pacifiers and sippy cups for prolonged periods can be very bad for childrens teeth as well.  It's much easier to break childrens oral habits when they are small, so get that nuk out of their mouths as soon as possible.  All three of my children had their nuk taken away by the time they were a year old, and they all were fine.  I'm sure none of them will be in therapy someday because I didn't let them suck on a pacifier until they were older.  And as for the sippy cups, just use in moderation.  Don't let them walk around with it all day. 



Laura, best of luck to you.  It's tough to break any of our children's habits, whatever they may be, so I really hope it goes smoothly for  you!

Lovetta - posted on 01/20/2009

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My used hot sauce...dashed on my thumb...only took a few hot mouths but eventually I stopped.

Shaziya - posted on 01/19/2009

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the best alternative wld be putting some thing on thethumb that the baby doesnt like . that means like bitterbourd juice or red chilli powder & holding the baby close at night to make him feel secure.

Patti - posted on 01/19/2009

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I took my 5 y/o to the dentist for her check up and the dental hygienist talked to her about sucking her thumb(about how her thumb has all sorts of germs and yucky stuff on it and she is putting all that in her mouth). Then the dentist came in and told my daughter that sucking her thumb will make her teeth crooked so she should stop before she needs to get braces. Only once have I seen her sucking her thumb since(and that was a week ago) and all I did was remind her"Remember what Ms. Dory said at the dentists office." and she took her thumb right out of her mouth.

Silvia - posted on 01/19/2009

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I have tried everything with my 5 year old son....Spicy, the thumb thing that sells at stores, wrapping it up, nasty flavors on his thumb, and nothing! The bad part of it is that his teeth are awful and then he gets sick often due to his thumb being everywhere and ending in his mouth! If anyone finds the cure I want to know!!!!! PLEASE!!!

User - posted on 01/19/2009

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my parents used nail polish with my sister - she was onnly allowed to have it if she didnt suck her thumb - and was reminded that it would make her sick if she sucked on it...

Emily - posted on 01/18/2009

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My aunt took her 4 year old to the dentist, who showed her pictures of other kids with buck teeth and explained that if she wanted to have "pretty" teeth like a princess she had to stop, or she would have to get braces (more bad pictures) or have sticking out teeth. Rather cruel, but worked a treat!

Shanon - posted on 01/18/2009

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My daughter turned 5 in december and she still sucks her thumb.  She mostly does it at night or when she is tired or sick.  She has a "lovie" that she carries around with her still also and normally if she has the lovie with her she is sucking her thumb.  So we now don't allow her lovie to come off of her bed.  Anytime I see her thumb in her mouth I say the word "thumb" and she gets embarrased (and mad at me) and takes it out.  I know that once she starts school the habit will begin curbing itself b/c other kids will make fun of her.  That is sometimes the best way to stop the habit.

Louise - posted on 01/18/2009

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i sucked my two fingers till i was 12 when i stopped it just felt right and it was up to me.
it hasnt done anything to my teeth the only effect it did do is on my left hand my pointing finger and my middle finger are little bit smaller than my right.
good luck on getting ur daughter to stop sucking her thumb but dont stress bout it
i also has a blanket that i had to use (it turned into a rag) i thru it out the window one day and it just felt right.
PS: my sister sucked one of her fingers to so my mum taped her fingers when she went to bed then my sis started sucking her thumb instead lol my mum gave up lol

Erin - posted on 01/18/2009

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I had this exact difficulty with my daughter, she sucked her thumb straight up to preschool.  We got a book from the library about germs and logged on to several websites that had up close pictures of germs and we told her everytime she sucked her thumb she was eating those disgusting germs.  We also told her she couldn't play on the computer or video games that everyone else wanted to play because they would get yucky with her thumb germs.  She quit pretty quickly after that.



 



Blessings



E

Louise - posted on 01/18/2009

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Hey Cathy and Joelne,



I think it is sweet that you guys don't see much wrong with the thumb thing, but I can say it is not O.K. I only sucked my thumb to fall asleep and I stll do it. I am almost 28 years old. If it had no damaging effect, then sure suck away, but it does. I still can't sleep with out it. The problem is what it does to your teeth. I always had perfect teeth growing up, but now they are way less then perfect. I have very buck teeth, which makes it hard to eat things like sandwiches, and pizza. Also I have gaps in my teeth because of how buck they are. It is very embarassing. I had no teeth issues until I was done highschool, they were buck but not gapped. Now it is just aweful. I don't smile for pictures, and I am always self aware. The other problem is I have been doing it for 28 years, so now how do I stop??? I would like to get braces (wish I didn't have to) but there is no point spending the money, until I stop the habbit. Please don't let your kids suck there thumb. It will hurt them in the long run.



louise



 

Cathy - posted on 01/18/2009

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My daughter is 3.5 yrs old. When she turned 2 I said we were going to curb her from it, well - didn't happen! I tried almost everything! Finally, I gave in to the fact that she needed it to help her sleep, but sucking on the thumb during the day I just couldn't let her do... so we told her that it was ok to suck her thumb only in bed. If I catch her out of bed sucking her thumb I just ask her if she would like to take a nap. Once she became more aware of it, it tappered off. I will still occassionally catch her, but nearly as much as before. Good luck!

Jolene - posted on 01/17/2009

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Honestly, I'm all for thumb sucking and don't think there is anything wrong with it no matter what the age. I've heard though that most children stop once they start school because they don't like the other kids to see them do it.

Tina - posted on 01/17/2009

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Hi Laura,



My oldest son sucked his thumb until the day he turned 5. We planned to stop it much earlier, but had too many life changes going on, to add that to the list. We did try many different things, like bitters and hot sauce, but he actually liked that. We just picked a date that he would stop sucking his thumb and talked about it with him all the time. We chose his 5th birthday, because then he would be a big boy. It sounds crazy, but that day came and he never sucked him thumb again. That's about all I've got for you. Hope it helps.

Jennifer - posted on 01/17/2009

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My son is almost 4 and a major thumb-sucker. We have not tried to curb the habit yet, but will be attempting it in the near future. When my son was younger, he had a stuffed puppy that he would always put in his mouth. The puppy quickly became disgusting and since this puppy was THE favourite, I decided I had to get him to stop sucking on it. So I talked to him about it and told him that everytime I noticed it in his mouth, I would make a sign that would tell him to take it out of his mouth (I sort of made my mouth move in a funny way, mimicking how he looked). My son thought this was kind of funny and it caught his attention. After a short while (maybe a week or two), the habit was pretty much broken. I was surprised it actually worked! So with his thumb-sucking, I am thinking of trying the same thing: telling him that it's a bad habit that we need to work on and then making some sign (probably wagging my thumb) when he does it. I guess time will tell if it works, but it might be worth a try.

[deleted account]

Perhaps a reward chart?  If she gets so many stars she gets something cool like a toy she's been wanting or to see a movie in the theater or whatever is motivating for her.

Louise - posted on 01/17/2009

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This is going to sound really stupid, but give her a soother. You can try that bite it stuff, or wrapping her thumb at night, (which doesn't work), but honestly the best way is to get her into the soother instead and then toss it. You can't cut off her thumb, lol. I am 27 and still do it... I know it's aweful, but I really wish someone would have stopped me before I grew up! lol. I am putting my son on a soother at birth to avoid the whole situation. No thumbs in the mouth allowed!



Good luck,



louise



 

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