Infants and toddlers begin to suck on their fingers as a means of exploring their surroundings. Some babies do this when their gums feel itchy due to new teeth, so they need something that at least reduces the itching they are experiencing.
Most parents may think that the child’s thumb-sucking behavior is just an act of play and will not become a habit. But in fact, finger sucking behavior in children can become a habit that is done continuously.
Thumb-sucking behavior is a survival reflex behavior that children have been doing since they were 15 weeks old while in their mother’s womb. Although most children will stop sucking their fingers at the age of 2 to 3 years, in fact, there are some children who still suck their fingers until the age of 7 years.
If you have this, some concerns that might occur are the risk of spreading germs from the hand to the child’s mouth which will be much greater, because when children suck their fingers, they will tend to ignore the cleanliness of their hands. In addition, other disadvantages that will occur to children who have the habit of sucking their fingers until childhood, will interfere with the alignment of the teeth and the material increases the likelihood of cavities in the child himself. For this reason, as a parent, it is your duty to protect and keep children away from dangers and all threats.
Here are 4 Tips to Get Rid of Thumb Sucking in Children
1. Start Early
It is best to give up the habit of thumb sucking in babies as early as possible. As children get older, they already have their own thoughts and beliefs about what they choose. The age of the baby when he starts to suck his thumb is after 18 months, at this age babies begin to recognize objects and hold toys, the thumb which is their object, and to be able to replace it it will be better replaced with another object, such as diverting it to a hygienic and safe toy.
2. Change the habit
When you find your little one sucking his thumb, try to distract him from activities that require him to use both hands. For example, give him a doll and then ask him to hug him with his hands or with other activities that allow his hands to move, so that he doesn’t keep sucking his thumb.
3. Don’t Scold or Scold Him
When you find this habit to be a child’s habit, don’t scold him occasionally. Pretend you don’t see what your child is doing, then make a distraction. The act of scolding or forcefully pulling the fingers out of his mouth will only make him feel strong and do the thing worse, because basically, when children are prevented from doing something, their tendency to do it worse will be higher.
4. Part of the stress that arises in children
Children who experience high environmental stress, experience developmental difficulties or social problems in their environment will tend to suck their thumbs more often. For that, look for causes that make him experience stress and depression. If this happens at an older age, then set the sleep schedule earlier, make a smaller schedule of daily activities or consult a doctor
The habit of children sucking their thumbs continuously may cause complaints of disease in the future. This is because the potential for germs to pass from hand to mouth is getting bigger. For that, immediately stop the child’s habit of sucking the thumb.