Monday, August 23, 2010

Thumbs Up!

 I have an almost 5 year old little boy named Payton who is starting Kindergarten next week. He's smart and friendly and kind and funny...he should have no problem right? Well...the one thing I didn't mention is his little thumb sucking habit he picked up when he was 3. Not when he was an infant...when he was already 3 years old.

It's been two years since Payton saw a cute little girl sucking her thumb in church. Like any normal kid he decided he would give it a go. She loved it...why wouldn't he? I was nervous at first but decided to ignore it. I was hoping that his tiny experiment might just fizzle away if I didn't do anything to bring attention to it or discourage it. Well, I was wrong (AGAIN). He has sucked his thumb ever since and now I am afraid he is going to get his feelings hurt at school. I know there is a possibility that that particular thing might help him kick his little habit but I don't want his first experience in school to be scary and I don't want him to feel like he has to anything just because a classmate tells him to. Maybe I'm just over reacting...that happens a lot. He could just be one of many who do it. I did it until I was 5 and I don't any more. Either way I am wondering if there is anything more I can do to help him. I want it to be a loving. I don't want anything that tastes bad (tried it) and I want him to want to stop.
He only does it when he is being still (falling asleep, watching TV, sitting in the car, waiting for something exciteing to happen) so you see it's not like I can take all or any of that away from him.

Do you think something like this might work? I could make him one of these.

We have tried the sock on the hands thing.
We have tried the bad tasting stuff you put on the thumb which I believe to be serious torture.

We have had him sleep in a shirt that has the sleeves sewn shut.

We have told him that he might just turn into a wrinkly crinkly old man soon.

We have told him about all the little bugs that live on thumbs.

We have tried it least that is how I feel. There has to be something else I can do.
I know it's a habit and habits are hard to break even for adults. Should I even be worried? I know there are bad side effects to this eventually. Any suggestions? Is anybody else going through this or has successfully helped their child over come this?



  1. Good luck with that one! Zoey has started to suck her thumb every now and then. I have noticed she starts when she has been around a kid who sucks their thumb. Which happens about every Sunday because there is a little girl in nursery that does. I decided I wasn't going to be nice to her about it. I know I'm mean. I tell her it's not good and we don't do that. The one thing that I told her that she really responded to was that if she sucks her thumb it will make her thumb yucky and her teeth and could make her teeth fall out. I may be stretching the truth but she responds to it and stops. I did try the ignoring it thing and it was 3 days before she stopped, which only happened because I told her she wasn't supposed to be doing that. I know you are past this point but I hope you can find something that works for Payton. Maybe he just needs time and he'll stop. Kids are all so different too that who knows what will work on them.

  2. I am sorry that I don't know of any thing that will help. I was thinking today about how I feel sorry for first born children and how they get to be the experimental children. Good Luck!

  3. I have taught Kindergarten for almost 20 years and kids have come sucking their thumbs, chewing on their shirts, twirling their hair, etc. and never once has another classmate made fun of them. We all have our stress relievers or "comforters". They just change from thumb sucking to something more socially acceptable for adults. He'll be fine.

  4. Speaking as Payton's preschool teacher, just know that it really wasn't a big deal. Because we try to keep all hands out of mouths for germ reasons, I could just give him a little look and he would remove it immediately. I don't think any of his classmates ever even noticed he sucked his thumb. To be honest, there were others, who didn't suck their thumb, but just always had their fingers in their mouth (or their shirt, name tag, etc) WAY more than Payton ever did. Like you said, it's just when he gets comfortable - when we read stories was about the only time. He'll be fine - hopefully he will out grow it soon though, I had a cousin who sucked on two of her fingers until she was 10!!!!

  5. I love "gmt"s comment. You did it and look how wonderful YOU are! And just like you, when he's ready, he'll quit.

    Did I tell you I love you?


  6. You know what's funny about thumb-sucking...
    I did it as a kid. I have NO idea how mom got me to stop...maybe email her?

    I do remember sucking it...and my big toes.

    And I did stop...

    BUT when I was older, I had to have an expander in my mouth. The Orthodontist said something quite interesting when he was told that I used to suck my thumb. He told Mom and me that I should have kept sucking it! It would have made my mouth wider so I wouldn't have needed the expander!

    Fun Sierra fact for the day.

    Good luck!

  7. Oh Jenni I wouldn't worry your pretty little head. I can't imagine his little classmates even noticing. One of my boys sucked his thumb and I asked the pediatrician about it and he said to name the thumb - so it wasn't Isaac take your thumb out of your mouth - so as not to make the child feel bad. Instead it was "Mr. Thumb, what are you doing in Isaac's mouth" or "Where's Mr. Thumb?" and Isaac would pull him out and hide him behind his back. He started sucking it less and then finally got a bad cold for a few days and couldn't breath and suck at the same time and he quite. :) Good Luck!