Behaviour Patterns 2

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a very normal reaction which starts from infancy.It is the most natural reaction of infants.

thumbsuck1          tsuck

There are many reasons why a child sucks his/her thumb.

.  Thumb sucking is the most natural and involuntary reaction of infancy.Babies put everything they hold into their mouth.

.  Children suck their thumbs as it comforts and calms them.

.Sometimes they suck their thumbs because they are tired and bored.

.  Another reason for thumb sucking could be when the child is sick or has been weaned too early.

.  Any challenging situation-  first day at school , new people anything that makes children insecure may be reason for thumb sucking.

When the child is unhappy, thoughtful (while watching TV or listening to a story.) or hungry he /she may thumb suck.

.  Often to sleep they suck their thumbs as they feel secure.

.  Many a time it just becomes a habit.

Remember thumb sucking is a natural habit which usually disappears before or during the nursery years.So mums don’t manic its a part of growing up.


Breaking the thumb sucking habit:-

The first thing I would like to say is don’t worry too much. Be there and care

Here are some dos and don’ts to help you:-

.   Punishing and nagging may not be a good idea as the child may not even realise he/she is doing it. Also if you pressure too much it may intensify the desire to thumb suck.

.   Thumb suckers should be kept busy with their hands.One should see the situation ,and work. Is he/she  scared – then comfort him. Nearing feed time he may suck his thumb so feed him , don’t delay.

.   Try and divert their attention with a new toy or story or change in activity.If you are busy get him/her to help you.

.    Notice when the child is most likely to suck  the thumb and then find a way to make him/her divert their attention. Make them feel secure and comfortable.Try to avoid those situations.

.   Do not tie their hands or thumb. There is no need to analyse every movement of your child . Sometimes just avoiding helps.

.   Very often it just becomes a habit so try to break it- be as creative as you can.

If however the child continues to suck the thumb in school, then consult your doctor.But – Never rush to the doctor.You are the parent you would now best. It would also be a good idea to share your experiences with your friends.- this helps you to realise thumb sucking is common and part of growing up.

I would like to share my experience-

My son used to suck his thumb and naturally I was concerned. One day  at a toy shop I found a cuddly bear  whose thumb we could put in the mouth. I bought it and every  time my son sucked his thumb I would make the bear do the same. This would make him laugh and he would pull out the bears thumb. Before I realised it had become a game . And yes off went the thumb sucking habit.

Its not easy I know -but as parents we just have to find a way to break the habit. Work patiently.

There is no magic formula for bringing up children the right way.We as parents have to guide them to become good human beings.


Try, try, you will succeed.

Share, care and love.

Be patient.

suck               suck1







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