DiscoverED Consulting

Hands-On • Innovative • Cutting Edge Technology

Thumb Sucking

Chanie WilschanskiComment

Does your child suck their thumb or bite their nails? 

Does it bother you to no end and you hear yourself saying all day, "Take your thumb out!" "Stop biting, you'll have no nails left?"

You resort to anything, positive, negative, sarcastic remarks - anything to get your child to kick the habit!

Research on habit behaviors as thumb sucking and nail biting show that it is possible to positively teach your child how to stop this habit. 

The main thing we will focus on is teaching an appropriate replacement behavior and understanding how old your child is in relation to this habit. 

For example, babies that suck their thumb for self soothing is completely normal and you shouldn't force your baby to take their thumb out. 

However, when you child is 3 years old or reaching the 4 year old line its time to think about teaching them a new way to self sooth. Or if they are nail biting it is typically associated with a nervous twitch or habit hat started and now it has become second nature that they don't realize they are doing it. 

First off, have a discussion with your child. My daughter Goldie is 3 1/2 years old. This is how our conversation went. 

"Goldie, you are a big girl now and are capable of doing so many things!" 

"Yeah, I know" and she went on to tell me many things that happened that day at school."

"Big girls are ready to learn to stop sucking their thumb. Mommy will help you and you will get to work towards a special reward."
 I showed her the special chart that I created and she was so excited! When I told her she would be earning a manicure and would get to pick her own color, she was jumping for joy!! :) 

How the system works?

1. Every time you catch her with her finger in her mouth you say, "Point" or a different code word that you make up with her. This code her is her signal to take her thumb out. It focuses on the positive and makes her feel good.

2. By the 3rd day of this program, she was taking her thumb out and saying "mommy I got a point"

3. By the end of the first week, my older son who is 5, would tell her "Goldie, point" and she would take her thumb out. 

4. By the 8th day of the program, I noticed a huge change, I would watch her take her thumb and her hair and get ready to suck her thumb and then she would stop herself. she would say" Mommy I did it! I get a point."

5. We would mark the points on her chart. at the end of the 2 weeks we took a trip to the manicure! 

6. I printed a new chart for this week and we are starting again to earn a new manicure. 

It takes up to 6 weeks to shape and change a behavior and especially to change a long standing habit. 

I will keep posted about how this week how progresses so stay tuned! 

Any questions about how to make it work or specific questions about your child- email and I will do my best to assist. 

Have a great day!