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How to Help Your Preschooler Stop Sucking Their Thumb

How to Help Your Preschooler Stop Sucking Their Thumb at Kids 'R' Kids Northern Greensboro, preschool, daycare, childcare

Thumb sucking is often one of the last habits children outgrow when transitioning from baby to preschooler. Although there are medical and social reasons you will want to help to leave thumb sucking behind, you can approach it patiently. Here are a few tips to help guide your preschooler while knowing he will outgrow this stage when the time is right.

Have a conversation

Begin the process of ending thumb sucking by having a conversation. Try to keep it positive while discussing how sucking her thumb introduces germs into her body that may make her sick, potentially moves her teeth, and could cause her to be teased by her peers. Some children do well with facts, and the goal is to help her want to stop. She needs to know that when she is ready to quit, you are there for her.

Identify triggers

Is your preschooler predictable in his thumb sucking? Take the time to pinpoint patterns. It may be during a relaxing time of watching TV or story time before bedtime, or it may be during a time of stress where it is used for comfort. With this knowledge, you can come up with a plan of action. For TV watching or story time, end the activity if he sucks his thumb. For stress relief, try to find another suitable form of comfort through physical comfort, reassuring words, or a stuffed animal.

Use reinforcement

Find ways to positively encourage your preschooler. Praise her every hour she goes without sucking her thumb. Use a sticker chart. At the beginning, she may need a sticker every hour. As she improves, increase the time needed to receive a sticker. Eventually, you will make it to a daily chart. Set attainable goals, and reward her. Rewards for her success can be as simple as extra books at bedtime or extra time at a park. 

While it may be discouraging at times, all children grow out of thumb sucking. Be careful to not start a battle with your preschooler causing him to dig in his heels. Instead, continue to consistently praise him and provide positive reinforcement. You will find that patient consistency will help guide your child at the right pace.

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Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Northern Greensboro located in Greensboro, North Carolina? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.