Breaking the Thumb-Sucking Habit

• Talk about how germs are transmitted from hand to mouth, therefore increasing her chances of getting sick

Step 3: Use a reward system
Small incentives will encourage your child to stick with her plan to quit. Start with a daily reward for no thumb-sucking, like stickers or small toys. As your child progresses, make a chart for long-term goals. For one full week without sucking, offer a special reward, like a trip to the pizza parlor; for two full weeks without sucking offer something bigger, like a night at the movies with two friends, and so on.

More Tips for Success
• Use visual reminders, like a colorful bandaid, to keep your child focused on quitting
• Cover your child's hand with a mitten or glove at night to keep her from sucking her thumb while she sleeps
• Provide a quiet and relaxing environment to help your child fall asleep at night without thumb-sucking
• Plan activities that will occupy your child's time and keep her hands busy, like coloring, puzzles, and art projects
• Be patient, consistent and focused on helping your child: It is really up to her to break the habit

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