stop thumb sucking

Do you have a thumb sucker in the house?  We did until up until a couple months ago.  My daughter sucked her thumb only at night when she was holding her sweet teddy bear, the trigger.

I couldn’t bear the thought of taking away her beloved teddy so I tried something else.  I began telling my daughter that soon it would be time to stop, in a very matter-of-fact kind of way.  She was getting too big to be sucking her and her dentist was all over us to get her to stop.

Part of the plan was actually her idea, which helped significantly in the process. Sweet Girl’s idea was to paint her finger nails every day and then she wouldn’t suck her thumb.  I thought this was brilliant.  Previously, I had to leave her thumb un-painted so she wouldn’t be swallowing toxic polish.

I made a chart to track her progress and provide a reward when she was finished.  Since it is believed that it takes 21 days to break a habit, the chart had 21 squares.  Each morning that she awoke and hadn’t sucked her thumb, she was able to (and this was key for the mental connection) put a thumbprint in the square.

I don’t know if she was more thrilled about filling a square or getting to coat her thumb in green ink, but it worked.  At the end of the 21 days, she received a Rapunzel dress that I had in the kitchen for the entire 3 weeks for her to see and desire.  It is good to see what you’re working towards, right?

She quit sucking her thumb cold turkey… that is until her daddy told her last week that she could suck her thumb while she was sick.  Umm, hello?  I think this will just take some gentle coaching.  But if it continues, the ink pad will make another appearance.

Stopping your child’s thumb sucking is definitely worth celebrating!  🙂

How have you been successful in getting your child to stop thumb sucking?