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Nursery's attitude to thumb-sucking...not sure how to react..

(29 Posts)
mrsbabookaloo Sun 14-Sep-08 21:20:16

DD is 2.2 and has been at her nursery for about 4 months. She is getting on great there and generally we are very happy with it.

They mentioned about a week ago to dh that they thought she should stop sucking her thumb. I was shocked, as I hadn't even thought this would be an issue yet.

Then this week dh said they had mentioned it to him again and said that they were trying to stop her and she came home saying "I will be ugly, my teeth will be ugly"

So, they have taken it into their own hands to try to break her of the habit and are using threats which I am really really not happy about.

Of course, I am going to talk to them about it, but I'm not sure what to think

What age do people feel that children should stop sucking their thumbs?
Maybe nursery knows something I don't; maybe they think that it's better to break them of the habit sooner rather than later, but she still seems so little to me. Maybe they want to have a consistent "no thumb-sucking" policy at nursery, so all the kids have good habits, in which case, I'd be happy to go along with it...I think.

Whatever their reasons, they definitely should have consulted more with us first before starting to talk to her like that, and surely there are better ways to discourage her than to make her concerned about her appearance when she is only 2 years old!!??

Mumsnet jury, what do you think?

sleepycat Sun 14-Sep-08 21:21:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMattie Sun 14-Sep-08 21:23:50

Agree with you. Not their place to have an opinion on the matter, really, and certainly not their place to start scare mongering her into stopping. Plus - she is 2 yrs old, not 10 yrs old. They need to relax!

SammyK Sun 14-Sep-08 21:24:02

This topic was brought up in the national childminding association magazine recently, and it was decided that it is a child's natural comforting device, and that forcing them to stop would not be beneficial in the long run.

I would be very angry at the nursery and would be going in to lay down the law discuss it.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 14-Sep-08 21:24:35

Yes, it is up to you. I imagine that those los who still use dummies as an alternative still have their dummies?

My dd sucks her fingers, which nursery never said anything about. She started school last week and has (her own choice) decided to try and stop in the day time. After a few days she said that the staff had asked/reminded her to stop at school, and even at her age I was a bit hmm at this. However dd said she was pleased they had reminded her.

In your dd's case, they should definitely discuss with you first, and they should be prepared for you to make the final decision - imo.

mrsbabookaloo Sun 14-Sep-08 21:28:02

Thanks for backing me up on this one.

So, is there anyone who thinks that little ones ought to stop doing it at 2?

I'm genuinely interested... I have no real perspective on this, as I ought to confess that I still do it...

Of course, I'm not going to encourage dd to be the same as me, but if you're going to have a bad habit, it's better than smoking crack!

TrinityRhino Sun 14-Sep-08 21:31:42

I have only just found out that dd2's nursery is saying that she is not to suck her thumb at nursery

she is 3.4yr and I do not mind her sucking her thumb at all

tbh I was a little shocked as I see her comforting herself as somehting that I should be decidin, if anyone, when it is done

BUT they teacher reassured me that they are just saing to her 'oh, you dont need to do that at nursery, we are busy doing things' with a smiley face
Now dd2 has been there for 3 weeks now and hasn't said anything to me about it and LOVES the place, is gutted when she can't go on a saturday and sunday.
So, I have breathed and think its fine what they are doing, hasn't upset her and I can see their point
BUT they have never said that she shouldn't suck her thumb at all and never would

I would be absolutely livid if they had done what your nursery has done

You must go and sort it out
she is so much younger than my dd2 but even if they said that to her I wouls still be livid
It is absolutely NOHING to do with them

Pawslikepaddington Sun 14-Sep-08 21:31:59

At the nursery dd attended the children were only allowed dummies at sleep time, so maybe a mum has complained that her pfb is only allowed a dummy at sleep time but thumb suckers can do it whenever? How DARE they say it would make her look ugly? I would go insane on the staff!! She needs comfort at that time, is two, and is away from her mummy-if she needs her thumb she needs it!

LittleDorrit Sun 14-Sep-08 21:32:47

MrsB - I think you should have a strong word with the nursery about this.
My DD is 2.5 and she has always been a finger sucker (in her case it's two fingers, not her thumb). I think recently she is doing it a little bit less, but it's still two fingers in the mouth if she is tired or daydreaming... It's a comfort thing, that they grow out of, and I would never dream of trying to make a big deal out of it.

Joolyjoolyjoo Sun 14-Sep-08 21:36:39

I agree- don't see that it is thei place to tell your dd she can't suck her thumb. Especially without discussing it with you first. I would also be annoyed. Not really the same thing but my dd came home and begged me never to put a biscuit in with her (otherwise healthy) lunch again, as she had "got a row because it was bad for you" angry. If nurseries are going to implement these kind of policies, surely they should be speaking to the parents and not to the child.

Heated Sun 14-Sep-08 21:37:18

Your job, not the nursery's.

As a long-term thumb sucker can I ask if you've had any dental problems? Both my nieces are now having to have major dental work, one even might have to have her jaw broken and reset. SIL asked the orthodonist who said it was 'probably' a factor.

Yanda Sun 14-Sep-08 21:43:11

I would be very unhappy if my DD's nursery said anything like this to her. She is 2.2 also but she does not suck her thumb. If she came home repeating what your daughter has said about being ugly and that her teeth would be ugly, I would have hit the roof. If they had taken the approach that TrinityRhino describes I would have been alot more tolerant, but to use the word ugly, to even teach her the word ugly, gah it makes my blood boil on your behalf.

mrsbabookaloo Sun 14-Sep-08 21:52:19

EXACTLY Yanda...she didn't even know the word ugly, as far as I knew.

Boo Hoo, I don't want to be unhappy with the nursery's good in lots of ways...I think...but now I'm worried

Heated: I have quite an overbite (sticky out top teeth) but it's not hideously bad. Not Janet Street Porter. I never had braces or any dental work, though I am surprised in retrospect that the dentist never said anything. I would say that damage to your teeth is a good reason to try to stop sucking your thumb when your big teeth come in.

LittleDorrit Sun 14-Sep-08 22:03:24

My understanding is that the risk of dental problems only arises if the child is still chronically sucking their thumb/finger when they start getting their permanent teeth - ie about age 7. So for toddlers it's not a problem.
If my DD is still doing it when she is 4, I will probably start encouraging her not to do it...

Onlyaphase Sun 14-Sep-08 22:05:53

Up to you, not your nursery to be deciding this issue. Would be storming in there if it were me, all guns blazing.

FWIW, I sucked my thumb until I was 12, no dental problems whatsoever.

ChupitosGalore Sun 14-Sep-08 22:07:51

id be fuming. id tell them theres no way i want any of them scaring my daughter with bullshit stories and how bloody dare they decide something like that without my say-so!

i sucked my thumb till i was 11. i started secondary school, realised it wouldnt be 'cool' and stopped. all by myself and just like that. after years of people haranguing me and my mother telling them to sod off and leave me alone (out of my earshot, like, and prob slightly more diplomatically than thatwink).
my teeth are bloody beautifully straight ta v much smile

TrinityRhino Mon 15-Sep-08 10:44:36

I was a thumb sucker till the age of 12 and no problems with my teeth

Saturn74 Mon 15-Sep-08 10:52:16

The nursery staff need putting in their place.

It is not up to them to decide whether or not a child should suck their thumb.

And their attitude re the 'ugly teeth' comment is appalling.

Your DD is 2. I'm sure thumb sucking is a comfort to her.

I'd write a very unemotional, but clearly very pissed off letter to the nursery manager.

TotalChaos Mon 15-Sep-08 10:55:03

agree with Humphrey Cushion. If they had taken the softly softly distraction approach that TR mentioned early in the thread, that's not too bad, but I think it's unacceptable to be making the "ugly" comments.

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Sep-08 10:59:23

Have just stopped ds (age 5) as he was having some issues with pronunciation and the Speech therapist said that it was because his tongue was pemanently squashed by a thumb and was not learning how to move properly. Never considered it at 2!!

mrsbabookaloo Mon 15-Sep-08 11:18:34

Hi everyone, thanks for your indigation on my behalf: just a quick update.

DH took her in this am and asked for a word with the nursery worker who had said it. She immediately said that she was sorry, that another child had said it and she found herself repeating it, but regretted it and had felt bad when she got home. She mentioned that she always tries to be professional and she would never normally say something like that. So that's nice.

I still think that she obviously disapproves of thumb-sucking and i will mention it again at dd's review meeting on Weds so that we are all on the same page, but now at least I don't need to go in "all guns blazing" as someone said!

Thanks for all your support and comments.

Yanda Mon 15-Sep-08 13:23:27

I'm glad that you went in and dealt with the situation like this, you were obviously calm and allowed the nursery worker to explain herself, what a wonderful example you have set for your daughter.

sasamax Mon 15-Sep-08 14:28:01

I sucked my fingers (index and middle at the same time upside down)with my comfort blanket threaded through my other fingers and pressed against my upper lip until I was 12. I clearly remember the immense comfort this afforded me when I needed it,and I would have been devastated had someone harrassed me to stop this. I had a brace for a year or so - like many, many other children - and then my teeth were fine. Don't let her be bullied into stopping - poor thing.

ruddynorah Mon 15-Sep-08 14:31:26

dd's old nursery did similar, but not so bad. she was less than 1 and they'd say (half jokily) 'get that thumb outta your mouth!!' at the same time popping dummies into other babies' mouths.

i loudly bellowed, 'it's her thumb, she can suck it if she wants...' and that was the end of it.

Ebb Mon 15-Sep-08 15:29:32

I sucked my fingers until I was nearly 10 blush. I remember clearly sitting in assembly when the Headmistress shouted 'Ebb take your fingers out of your mouth - it makes me physically sick to see!'. I was so traumatised I never sucked my fingers again. (My teeth are lovely too by the way!) I think it is perfectly acceptable for a 2year old to be sucking their thumb. It's a comfort thing. I would be fuming with the nursery for implying she would get ugly teeth because of it. Children now a days have to deal with so many self esteem issues without ignorant people sowing seeds unnessecarily!

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