Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingToddler & Preschooler · 1 decade ago

What can I do to help my 4 years old daughter to get rid of thumb sucking?

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Try offering a reward. For every waking hour she doesnt suck her thumb put a button in a jar. After a week she gets to turn them in for a prize (if she hasnt sucked her thumb at all). Do that til she stops.

    You can use that for other things to. We all work for rewards in life so I dont see how its bribing.

  • 1 decade ago

    In october my husband and I succeeded in breaking our daughters thumb sucking habit. We told her how sucking her thumb was hurting her teeth and if she did not stop eventually she would need braces. We also told her that if she could go 6 weeks without sucking her thumb that we would buy her a kitten.

    The first day was hard and the first 3 nights were even harder....but after that things got dramatically better!

    Find something that she is willing to give up her thumb for. A doll, a trip to Chucky Cheese, etc. Explain how sucking your thumb ruins your teeth. And be very positive/supportive the first week. We kept telling her how proud we were and asking her what she was going to name her new kitten!

    Sometimes when she is rousing in the morning (still half asleep) she will go for the thumb. I always watch her during this time and if she puts it in her mouth I take her hand and hold it for a few seconds. So keep an eye...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Put hot sauce, fingernail polish remover, alcohol or pickle juice on her thumb so she won't like the taste.

    Have her wear a bandaid on her thumb, because really, who wants to suck on a bandaid?

    Keep her busy so she doesn't get bored and want to suck her thumb. Also, if she sucks her thumb in the car give her a sucker, piece of gum or other thing that will encourage her to keep her thumb out of her mouth.

    If she sucks her thumb while sleeping (the whole time, causing it to become pruney when she wakes up) tell her that if she wakes up with no pruney fingers she gets a marble. Keep the jar of marbles in plain view and let her add it to the jar. If she can get X amount of marbles in X amount of time she gets a reward.

    The marble system is a great thing to start around this age. You aren't giving your child a bribe for every single thing they do (pick up your toys and you get a sucker) instead they are working toward a goal (don't suck your thumb for a week and listen to mommy and we will go to the park on Sunday). Every time she picks up her toys, a marble goes in the jar, but if she throws a tantrum out comes a marble. It really encourages good behavior.

    Edited to add: Put crayola marker on her thumb during sleep times. You'll be able to tell if she has sucked her thumb or not by whether or not the marker is still there. It's non-toxic and won't hurt her.

  • 1 decade ago

    Please don't punish her. And please don't threaten her. My parents did that with me, even taking me to the orthodontist and threatening me that if I didn't stop I'd get a 'retainer' that made it so I could only eat mashed potatoes through a straw, which, of course, scared the crap out of me at the time (though I kind of thought it was cool and 'special', too), but makes me very angry now that I know they lied to me and threatened me like that.

    What "worked" for me was being proud when my thumb fell out of my mouth at night, and I woke up without it. What worked was being *proud* of not doing it, instead of shamed or threatened into it. Seriously, work with the positive reinforcement as others said. Yes, it took me at least a year or so to accomplish it, as I sucked my thumb until about 7 years old (but most stop between 4 and 6 [when the permanent teeth come in], so she may stop on her own, but some psychology suggest that if she sucks it beyond those years it's because of familial stress--which can most certainly be caused by all the punishment and threats received because of her thumbsucking). Yes, I have a bit of an overbite, but it's not anything that anyone can notice or recognize, nor a hindrance to me. And, actually, after I stopped sucking my thumb, that bit of a 'gap' between the top and bottom teeth totally disappeared.

    Also, make sure that it's a bedtime (or naptime) only thing. I was completely content with that.

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  • 1 decade ago

    We solved this by putting a solution called mucomyst on our son's thumb when he was young. It was harmless to him but the taste was so bad he fairly quickly associated the taste with the habit of sucking his thumb. Anything that is not harmful to the child will work, we had that particular solution in the house because it was used in an Aunt's breathing medication.

  • 1 decade ago

    You have to replace it with something else but not necessarily something to suck. Maybe you can buy her a "nap toy," that she can cling to. I used to suck my finger until I was 7 years old. I recall stopping when I spent the night at my Aunt's house. I lay down and she was next to me. I had the urge to suck my finger but was embarrassed in front of her. I resisted the urge and fell asleep. I did the same thing the next night, the next night and eventually extinguished the habit. Maybe you can give your child an incentive. If he can stop sucking his thumb even for one whole day, take him to the store and let him pick out an inexpensive toy. Keep rewarding his positive behavior and remind him/her that this is a "baby" habit.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    DEAR do not do that she is insecure that is he security that she fills she needs i am totally handicapped and totally disabled i was born with a really bad case of cerebral palsy on the right side and a really bad stroke at the age of one (1) and now have mental problems type 1-2 manic depression type diabetes asthma my grain headaches shingles b-12 -150 the lowest is -125 all from hurricane Rita i was in remission but after it all and test the doctors told my mom i have turned in to a 1-3-5-9-11-are a 34 so do not pick on her at all because the ages i listed is no fun

  • 1 decade ago

    There is a kind of "fingernail polish" that you put on the thumbnail that its purpose is to stop children from sucking their thumb. This stuff tastes really bad and the child will not suck her thumb. It is not harmful to the child. From personal experience, this stuff works! I can't remember the name of this stuff, but any drug store should have it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    tell her she can suck her thumb in private, but otherwise she can't when she is with you (since you obviously don't want to see her doing it) because that is what will end up happening if you follow any of the other advice given to you

  • 1 decade ago

    Put salt or lemon juice on her thumbs so when see sucks them they will be soar.

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