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Thumb Sucking

Give up Thumb Sucking in time to Start School

A lot of children stop sucking their thumbs naturally between the ages of two and four just on their own, without any help.  However, one in eight children is still sucking a thumb of finger between the ages of seven and eleven.  With most children starting school at the age of four, the need to give up thumb sucking in time to start school comes sharply into focus when they reach this birthday.

Thumb and finger sucking habit?

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Is Stopping Thumb Sucking in Young Children Necessary?

Babies tend to exhibit the sucking behaviour most when they are tired, bored or need comforting and stopping thumb sucking is not necessary in such young children.   However all of these states of being are also exhibited by a young child who is beginning school where thumb sucking is not always appropriate.  They may not always be fully tuned in to the class activity due to boredom or feel anxious and in need of some extra emotional support in his or her new environment.  All these emotions prompt them to reach for the comforting thumb or finger which has been a refuge for as long as they can remember.

As the first day of school arrives and the difficult and often stressful goal of stopping thumb sucking has not been achieved, parents begin to worry because the thumb-sucking can also cause social difficulties for the child.  Children who suck their thumbs as they start school can be subject to bullying by their peers. The other children his age may even refuse to play with him, or sit next to him because his thumb sucking makes him a “baby.”

“As well as teeth and finger damage I never thought that it would affect my daughter socially….until recently she started declining after school cinema shows with her friends. I later discovered it’s because she didn’t want any of her friends to see her secret”

Mum, Helen Rooney

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Give up Thumb Sucking in time to Start School

Children who suck their thumb can also ‘zone out’ and stop concentrating, retreating into a world away from school.  They will stop when prompted but within a few minutes the thumb is back in again.  This cycle can take up an awful lot of a Teaching Assistant’s time and mean that a child is missing out on learning time!  Once this has been brought to a parent’s attention, they are often desperate to help their child to stop sucking.

A Thumbsie is a gentle and effective way to stop a child sucking his or her thumb.  A colourful glove which is made to measure, fits neatly over any digit and helps to break the habit of thumb sucking.  It can work within a few days and so there is still plenty of time to give up before school starts.  Thumbsie also supply a reward chart in order to incentivise your child to give up – they can see their progress and you can decide on the reward!  Have a look at our shopping page and decide which colourful fabric is going to help your child start school without sucking their thumb.

Children can be inherently cruel, zeroing in like a laser on any perceived differences. Children are looking for differences, and an older child sucking their thumb will certainly stand out and for some children, this can impose on a child’s social development. It may seem harsh, but this is how children, of even a very young age, learn the social code of their society. They learn how to act around kids their own age through the teasing and insults of their peers.

Such peer pressure can make the older child stop sucking his thumb soon enough; at least during the day when the child is in school or on the playground. A five-year-old child may however, still continue to suck her thumb in her sleep, unconsciously, just as she did when she was a baby. Some older children may manage stopping thumb sucking most of the time, but resume the habit when they are under stress.  The child is gradually moving away from thumb sucking altogether, but some will need some help, particularly if they are determined to give up to avoid any stigma at school.


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School Thumb Sucking Bundle

School thumb guard bundle
School Thumb Sucking Bundle
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Problems with Thumb Sucking

You may be concerned if it is harmful, at what age should they stop or what could be the long-term effects if they don’t stop.
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