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Thumb sucking


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The reason dummys were invented! You can throw them away...eventually ;)

My friend is 48 and still sucks her thumb, she did it throughout school too, youth club, stables, beach, town, parties, just short blasts.

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Thumb sucking is for comfort mostly. Once the children are happy and settled they'll feel less need to suck their thumb

in the meantime, remind them to wash their hands especially if they've been playing outside, removing thumb from mouth when they speak and include some language skill activities. My neice is 10, has always sucked her thumb and I can see she may need dental work at some stage but her speech is normal and germs didn't get her either ;)

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How do the parents feel about this...this is surely their decision not yours.

I have a little one who chews her finger nails all the time....but she is struggling to communicate with us because she has 3 languages spoken at home and her English is not strong. I am starting to target the times when she chews them most and it is evident when she is unsure of what to do, needs something or at a group time ...all times for her that she (subconsciously) is finding things tricky.

I would suggest that maybe you need to take some obs on this little one first to work out if their is a trigger.

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I agree that it's up to parents and the child. I was a thumb sucker throughout childhood - although I did give it up some years ago!

Sucking is an innate comfort reflex for many children and stopping it against their will could be quite a task. Yes I would be making sure they wash hands, but really no more than anyone else, after using the toilet, outdoor play, messy play and before eating. And asking them to take their thumbs out of their mouths when they speak. We find that the busier children are, the less they suck their thumbs.

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Hi finleysmaid, the sucking usually starts at tidy up time or on the carpet and not necessarily when they are tired - seems to be comfort/habit as they are very happy and adjusted/settled now. Parents have tried to stop them at home and although I have been doing the things you suggest Rea, it seems the habit is well and truly established. It is only because parents asked me if the child sucks their thumb at nursery that I really started to take more note.

There are thumb guards on the market so perhaps I could suggest one of those?

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Hi finleysmaid, the sucking usually starts at tidy up time or on the carpet and not necessarily when they are tired - seems to be comfort/habit as they are very happy and adjusted/settled now. Parents have tried to stop them at home and although I have been doing the things you suggest Rea, it seems the habit is well and truly established. It is only because parents asked me if the child sucks their thumb at nursery that I really started to take more note.

There are thumb guards on the market so perhaps I could suggest one of those?

my daughter sucked her thumb and first finger together, and dentist suggested wearing gloves in bed. ha ha. so i tried nail biting solution, which did the trick, if parents want them to stop.

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I'm not sure this is a decision for us to make as practitioners.

I agree that it's important to get them to wash their hands when they've touched something unhygienic and I've always asked children to take their thumbs out of their mouths to speak to me which is a good way to support their speech development. This doesn't deny them the comfort for more than a few seconds.

The alignment of their teeth is more the responsibility of their parents and some will decide that the comfort is more important and don't see the need to prevent it.

I'd work on keeping their hands as busy as possible and making sure they feel secure and relaxed in the setting so that the need for comfort activities is reduced as far as possible.

I'm not sure I'd be willing to use a thumb guard for any child in my setting unless they were choosing to wear it.

I can understand the increase in thumbsucking during carpet time and think the suggestion of fiddle toys is a good one. However, if the thumbsucking is increasing during tidy up time, I'd be asking myself what I could change about this time to make the children feel more motivated and confident so they didn't feel the need to turn to comfort behaviours.

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'It is only because parents asked me if the child sucks their thumb at nursery that I really started to take more note.


There are thumb guards on the market so perhaps I could suggest one of those?'



thank you for your replies - I agree it is not our decision to make; however as the parents had specifically asked me (which reading back through my posts I had obviously not made clear) and the idea of a thumb guard is only a suggestion for parents if they are overly concerned - that of course is their decision to make.


Finleysmaid I like the idea of giving them something to hold to help them if needed. Thanks for that ;)


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Not sure if it will help but if the child becomes worried etc at tidy up time you could try what we did. We introduced the "Heigh ho" song from snow white as our tidy up music (Although any sort of music etc would work I guess) and it works wonders, as soon as the music comes on the children stop and start tidying up! We introduced it not only to stop the need for raising our voices above the chatter etc to get ourselves heard but also because a few of the children totally ignored us when we said time for tidy up. (We are a packaway setting so we really mostly use it at the end of a session or if there are toys just strewn everywhere)

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Rather have a thumb sucker than a nose picker :ph34r:

Sorry I think there are some things that are really down to the parents and if the child is comforted in the setting by sucking their thumb then so be it.

I would just say you will do your best to discourage but that's all.....how old is the child in question?

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I have a thumb sucker daughter (old I should add, still does it sometimes when stressed/tired)

She has never had trouble with speech (verbal diarrhoea from 2) , and has the most perfect teeth ever seen.

Just saying........

 

(I did ask dentist about it and he said it's not the actual sucking - it's the way they suck, so not always a problem)

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I don't think my partner thinks that....he has tried to give me a nudge to stop doing it, but he has no chance, my thumb allows me to relax and helps me think.

 

I just have to remember not to do it in public!

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