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Thumb Sucking & the Pacifier: A Few Strategies to Help Break the Habit

Does your child suck their thumb?


Finger habits and pacifiers are very reassuring to infants. In fact, there are no known long term consequences (for children age 2 & under). Nonetheless, it is a good idea to help them kick the habit before age 5 to avoid potential issues in the future. This is the age many children start kindergarten, and having the habit resolved before this new adventure may be easiest. Research shows that children who continue to suck on their thumb, or fingers have increased dental effects. Specifically, these habits can influence the way teeth come together, how someone swallows and how they articulate words. If you are having trouble getting your child to stop this habit, we have a few helpful tips! 


Dr. Cooke suggests getting a fun sock that they can place on their arm during the time that they typically use their thumb/finger habit. The sock should be long enough to reach the elbow, so its difficult for a child to remove while they are asleep. Make the sock into a fun project! Decorate it or make a chart that when it is used regularly a prize is earned.



Another helpful option is a finger nail polish. You need to paint this polish on the thumb or fingers that the child uses with the habit every few days to keep it fresh. The taste helps to stop the habit. We are happy to meet your child to discuss all of the above so we can help you and your child to dissolve the habit. 







Pacifier strategies include:


  1. Giving the pacifier to Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. They can wrap it up and then they may receive a present in return.

  2. Go to "Build - A - Bear" and have your child put the pacifiers inside the bear. Then it becomes their "Binky Bear".

  3. Cutting a slit in the top of the pacifier. It looses the suction and may not provide the same feedback as before.






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