Remember those first days when your sweet babe found their thumb, out came the camera to document this monumental event. Three or four years down the road now you are ready to take that final photo and get rid of that habit for good.
First let’s look at why now is the time to end your child’s thumb or finger(s) habit.
- It may effect speech causing things such as lisps, and voice quality being altered. When the thumb/finger(s) are in place the tongues natural posture changes, this can lead to the tongue starting and finishing sounds in the wrong position.
- Dentally, open bites often occur this is when the front teeth don’t meet or overlap. The roof of your child’s mouth can be altered causing the upper jaw to be to narrow and instead of being on the outside of lower teeth it will be inside in areas, this is called a cross bite.
- Can lead to mouth breathing and alter the length of your child’s facial structure.
- More prone to illness as your child can be putting cold virus etc. directly into their mouth.
When not to try and eliminate your child’s sucking habit.
- New baby in the house.
- Start of school year.
- Any stress in the family.
Ready set go!
- Prepare your child by starting to discuss that it is time to stop their habit, let them know they could be using their hand to be doing many other things.
- If you see their teeth are already being effected point it out to the child. Let them know if they stop those teeth will start to return to the proper location.
- Tell your child that you think your child could stop the habit in less than 3 weeks because they are so smart/big now………..(whatever you think your child will respond to)
- Take a trip just the two of you to the store and buy a calendar/bristle board anything you can show your goal date. Get stickers that appeal to your child. Buy a new pair of men’s sport socks and none toxic markers.
- Work together and make your sock into a sock buddy. Your child will wear their sock buddy every night for the next 3 weeks.
- During hours your child is likely to have digit in their mouth keep their hands busy let them play on a tablet, play a game.
- Praise, Praise and more Praise for each accomplishment.
- Show other ways your child can sooth themselves snuggle, hug a stuffy, and if in bed suggest they rub their feet together.
- If your child retreats to previous behaviour work through this bump in the road tell them how great they were doing.
- Don’t be discouraged if your bump turns into a detour wait a few months and try again. Set your sock buddy up so your child can see it and ask from time to time if they are ready to show you ……(what a superstar they are, how big they have gotten etc.)
- When your child is successful have a celebration! Stuff sock buddy and give him a place of honour on the dresser or have a ruin the sock party.
- Sometimes your child will respond better to a 3rd party get your dental professional in on the process, set up a series of 3 visits and work through the process with them.