A lot of parent’s experience this behavior with their toddlers and start to worry more when they feel like it is becoming a bad habit thats occurring more often throughout the day.
Why does Thumb sucking occur?
Well studies have shown that this behavior is soothing to babies but increases when he/she's:
- Adjusting to challenges such as starting daycare or preschool.
- Falling asleep at bedtime or when he wakes up at night.
How to get your child to stop depends on a number of things, first you have to observe your child and see when exactly this behavior happens. Is it when he is really tired? While watching TV? When stressed about a new change in their life like starting pre-kindergarten or day care? Once you identify these ‘triggers’ you start acting accordingly by approaching the causes behind the thumb sucking.
You could start trying to substitute the behavior before it occurs and give them something to replace it by for example if he does it when he is tired you could let him nap longer or make his bedtime earlier or if they are stressed about something try identifying what it is and provide comfort in other ways such as hugs and kisses.
But do not worry too much about the issue since most children stop this habit when they start school due to peer pressure by the age of 2 – 3.
Be patient if they don’t. Just make sure that by the time they are 4 – 5 and they start teething they have stopped this habit since it does cause dental problems and increase’s their chance of wearing braces in the future.
The most important thing is not to give the issue too much attention as this could be used by your toddler as a way to grab your attention later, always offer gentle reminders and use positive reinforcement to help them out!
If you have any questions about this issue do not hesitate to ask! We are here to provide answers to all mamas and papas!