Stop thumb sucking from damaging your child's teeth and jaw

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A soothing gesture that is common in young children, thumbing sucking after primary teeth (also called baby teeth or milk teeth) have fully erupted can lead to changes in the growth patterns of the jaw and cause misalignment of teeth. This habit should be discouraged by around the age of four. Break the habit of thumb sucking with a reward chart.

What You'll Need

  • Colourful stiff paper
  • Pens and a ruler
  • Fun stickers or an ink pad

What You'll Do

  • Explain to your child that you're going to make stopping thumb sucking fun and decide on a really fun activity together.
  • Make a colourful chart with them with their name, date so have stopped and reward written at the top.
  • Divide the chart with 6 columns running from top to bottom and 7 rows from left to right.
  • Along the top label the columns 'early morning', 'at school', 'car journey', 'watching tv/reading', 'bedtime' and 'other'.
  • Label the rows from Monday to Sunday.
  • Start small by asking your child not to suck their thumb for part of the day, a whole day and build up to longer periods of time.
  • Mark off each section with a fun sticker or your child can use their thumb print on an ink pad to make their mark.
  • Once they reach their goal, then reward them with their fun activity!
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