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3 year old addicting to sucking fingers

(17 Posts)
nuttyslackster Fri 10-Jan-20 16:31:47

My DD (3.5) has sucked her fingers since she was a baby. Dentist says it's affecting her bite and I would really like her to stop altogether or at least stop sucking during the daytime. I have seen other children of her age with a similar habit stop or cut down, but my DD is still completely addicted to sucking. She wanders around most of the day with her fingers in her mouth even when we are out and about. It is a strong habit and she knows we don't like her doing it, so it has become a real battle of wills. I know she sucks a lot less with the childminder and at preschool. Has anyone got ideas or advice please?

rosydreams Fri 10-Jan-20 23:19:43

try encouraging her to become attached to a toy ,shes self comforting .If she can become attached to a toy it will be easier down the line to remove the toy.You cant tell her no or she will suck her hands more.Is there a blanket she likes or a soft toy.Bring is were ever she go's ,have it when you read a bed time storey ,have it sat at the dinner table.Hopefully you can move the comfort to the toy then in a few years when shes ready she will give up the toy

ThinkPositiveThoughts Fri 10-Jan-20 23:26:47

You could try painting her fingers in the horrible tasting stuff people use to stop biting their nails.

Or cut just the tips off a pair of gloves and stick them on her. She won’t get the same sensory hit off a mouthful of wool!

It should only take a few days once you find the technique that will initially make the idea of finger sucking unappealing.

nuttyslackster Sat 11-Jan-20 09:32:50

Thanks for your comments. She doesn't really have a toy she is attached to in part I think because she has her fingers. Catch 22!
I have bought some of the nail varnish stuff but she is refusing to let me put that on her.

bingbangbing Sat 11-Jan-20 09:34:52

Have you ever met an adult with wonky teeth due to dummy, thumb sucking etc?

No? Me neither

Spoonsmum Sat 11-Jan-20 09:37:23

My brother used to do this constantly. My mum tried all kinds of things but unlike with a dummy you can’t just take them away. Same as people who sick their thumbs. He did eventually stop. I think when he started school. He also had no teeth problems although I know that’s more luck than anything.

DuPainDuVinDuFromage Sat 11-Jan-20 10:16:05

This is the answer (I don’t work for them, honest!):

My DD has always sucked her fingers and we were starting to get desperate. We thought we would give the Thumbsie hand covering a go (it works for both fingers and thumbs), and we got DD to choose the pattern, which I think really helped her to engage with it (along with the dentist having told her she would have to stop sucking - they always listen better to adults who aren’t their parents!). She wore it at night and also any time during the day when she wanted to suck, and it only took a couple of months for her to stop sucking completely - she’s now 5 and it’s a distant memory! She was 4 when we got it but I think it would work the same for a three year old.

Good luck!

RhymingRabbit3 Sat 11-Jan-20 10:39:36

Have you ever met an adult with wonky teeth due to dummy, thumb sucking etc?

Plenty of adults have wonky teeth. Many many teenagers and adults have braces to correct wonky teeth. I'm sure these aren't all down to thumb sucking etc but it's definitely not unusual to have bad teeth and if dentists say that thumb sucking can contribute to this, I'm inclined to believe them.

fuzzymoon Sat 11-Jan-20 15:11:57

It's not wonky teeth that is the issue it's when your jaw forms round the the thumb or fingers.

I sucked my thumb and needed a special brace to stop me putting it in my mouth. I have a jaw deformity because of it. The only thing to correct is jaw realignment surgery. It's not extreme so i avoided it. However it has effected how I look, not drastically but I wish I'd stopped before the damage was done.

My son sucked his thumb. I ended up attaching gloves to his pyjama sleeves so he couldn't suck them. It took two weeks to brake the habit.

kylieeee Sat 11-Jan-20 15:15:14

My parents never cracked down on my finger sucking and I ended up doing it until I was 20! I've just had to pay £3,000 for braces to correct the damage it did to my teeth too. Maybe you could tell her if she can go all week without them you will treat her to a colouring book or some sort of bribery? It's a tough habit to break!

upthewolves Sat 11-Jan-20 15:59:17

Hi OP, Recently cracked this with my own 3yo by adapting some advice given on MN. My DD was totally addicted to her thumb. We made some 'tokens' out of glittery paper and stickers. We put them in a jar where we could see. Every day she started off with 10 tokens. Every time her thumb went in she lost a token. At the end of the day, we counted the tokens and gave her that number of mini marshmallows. We also had to help her by keeping her distracted for the first few days with things that used her fingers. Baking, playdoh, art and craft. It was exhausting. Lots of small snacks that take a while to eat eg seeds, raisins. It got easier and easier as time went on and then she was routinely 8-10 marshmallows. Once we got to that point, we made a chart for days that she got 10 marshmallows. Once she had 7 stickers she got to choose a toy. Then another 7 and she got to choose another toy. By this point the habit was broken. This was day time only. We allowed it from the time she climbed into bed as the day was then over. So she still sucks for the 5 mins she's falling asleep at night. This will be our next project! But I'm confident we can do the nights now too and so is she!

I should add that we prefaced it all with a discussion about why we were doing it and what was happening to the teeth. She took it on board.

nuttyslackster Sun 12-Jan-20 16:35:01

Thanks all, your advice and tales of wonky teeth have spurred me on to try to crack this although my DD is so stubborn I know it will be hard. I have ordered a unicorn reward chart and am going to try upthewolves suggestion. I am also going to have a word with her pre school to get them to reinforce the no sucking rule as I think at the moment the teachers don't pick up on it (to be fair we've not asked them to) and it would be better if all the authority figure adults in her life are on the same page.

upthewolves Sun 12-Jan-20 20:05:43

Good luck!

nuttyslackster Sun 12-Jan-20 21:39:56

Ha ha I will need it!

Maggiemoothecoo Sun 12-Jan-20 21:47:50

We are on night 3 of using thumbsies with my nearly 3 year old. She sucks her thumb to settle herself to sleep but the thumbsies do seem to be working so far. @DuPainDuVinDuFromage how long did you use them for before you didn't need them anymore?

nuttyslackster Mon 13-Jan-20 19:39:07

I have just bought two of the thumbsies (for fingers) for my DD. She seems quite excited about them so you never know...

DuPainDuVinDuFromage Tue 14-Jan-20 11:44:22

Maggiemoothecoo sorry I didn't see that you had asked me a question - I can't remember exactly how long but I think it was only about two or three months before we tried leaving the thumbsies off and she was fine without them.

Good luck to you and to nuttyslackster!

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