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Thumb Sucking

Still Thumb Sucking?

With the new school year just around the corner, Thumbsie® offer our advice on how to cope with the anxiety and stress caused by thumb sucking at school.

September is nearly here. Hard to believe, but it is. Your child may be excited and ready to go, or they may be nervy and anxious. Going back to school or starting for the first time can be a happy time but it can also lead to anxiety. And let’s not forget the added stress of your child being a thumb sucker.

Examples of anxiety can include being more clingy than normal, being restless, expressing negative thoughts and unexplained crying.

So how can you ease your child back into school life, especially if they are a thumb sucker?

Preparation: As with many things in life, preparation is key. A week or two before school starts, transition towards a more suitable bedtime and more punctual mealtimes. This will help your child to get used to routine again, especially if timings have been more fluid over the summer.

Friends: Hopefully your child will have seen some of their school or nursery friends over summer, but why not arrange a play date so they can refamiliarize with their peers?

Validate: If your child is nervous, don’t dismiss their nerves. Instead accept these concerns and show that you are listening. Provide reassurance rather than denying their feelings.

School thumb guard bundle
School Thumb Sucking Bundle
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And what about thumb sucking?

While most children stop thumb sucking before they start school, many do not. One in eight children are still thumb sucking between the ages of seven and 11. At a time of increased anxiety such as starting a new school, the desire to thumb suck can actually get worse.

It can be a vicious circle. The child is worried about being mocked for thumb sucking and so becomes more anxious. But this anxiety then makes them want to seek comfort, typically through thumb sucking.

Sadly, thumb sucking is seen as a childish habit – even by some teachers – and there is also evidence that it can affect a child’s concentration. Children who suck their thumbs when they start school can be subject to bullying by their peers. Some children may stop during the school day due to this peer pressure, but this is unlikely to be a long-term solution. They may still thumb suck at nighttime, even subconsciously when asleep.

Want to know more about thumb sucking?

We provide a detailed analysis of thumb sucking and highlight a range of key statistics from organisations such as the British Orthodontic Society, the American Dental Association, the Mayo Clinic and Colgate. Find out more

The best, most effective solution for long-term results is a Thumbsie®.

Thumbsies®are thumb guards which fit over the thumb like a glove. They are made to measure, fit neatly over the digit and help to break the habit of thumb sucking. 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.

Your child can wear a Thumbsie® to school, and it does not have to be taken off for either schoolwork or play. We even find that many other children are curious and even jealous of a child’s Thumbsie®! Best of all, we even offer a special “Cool for School” Thumb Sucking Bundle, in appropriate school colours to match uniforms, which can be worn day and night.

At Thumbsie®, we also believe in the power of stories. Our Thumbs Up For Ted’s Thumbsie book outlines Ted’s journey to stop thumb sucking before he starts Big School. While – spoiler alert! – he doesn’t manage to stop prior to starting school, with the aid of a Thumbsie® he becomes the talk of the playground and quits the habit in no time. It’s a great read.

Good luck to all children starting Big School this autumn and to those moving up an academic year. Yes, September can be a scary time. But with the help of a Thumbsie®, the anxiety caused by thumb sucking can be reduced and, eventually, stopped.

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Children's oral health statistics in the UK

Many parents are concerned about their child’s oral health, and for good reason. While children are often attracted to sweet, sugary food and drinks, research has proven that these treats can cause long-term damage to teeth.
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