At this stage, your kid is buzzing with energy, creativity, and so much more. However, some bad habits from past are still sticking around. Yes! We are talking about thumb sucking!
Your little one has been practicing thumb sucking even in the womb so it is very normal that your child resorts to this comforting habit when tired, bored, scared, and sick or faced with a new challenge. Many children start this habit when starting pre-school because this is a stressful time for them. Children also use their thumb to soothe themselves to sleep at bedtime.
What you need to know
About half of most 2 year olds suck their thumb and majority stop by the age of 4 if the parents are able to handle the problem well.
A little bit of passive thumb sucking is not harmful and can in fact help the child to calm down. However, it is the technique that is important. Vigorous thumb sucking for a long period of time is harmful for the child and needs to be curbed. Intense thumb sucking can cause dental issues or infection and damage to the finger as well. If your child is always seen with the thumb inside the mouth then it can also lead to teasing by the peer group, which in turn can be harmful for your child’s self-confidence. It is important to make sure that your child gives up thumb sucking by the time permanent teeth start to erupt to avoid deformed and crooked teeth.
What you need to do
If you are trying to curb the habit of thumb sucking of your child, try to understand the triggers. If your child puts the thumb inside the mouth when bored then you need to keep the child engaged, or if stress is the trigger then you might need to reassure the child. Do not pressurise or punish your child to stop the behaviour as then the desire will be more in the child. Instead keep reminding the child at times and wait out the period.