Babies naturally have a very strong suction need. In order to satisfy this need, babies also often get their thumbs, some of them even in the womb! In the first 6 months, thumbs are not wrong at all and just right. After these months it loses its function and you can start a difficult task: the unlearning thumbs.
That is much easier said than done. Especially if your baby is still young. Therefore set the limit at the age of 4 to 5 years old. Then it must be done with the fun. It is going to be difficult, but hopefully you have some tips on how to take the thumbs!
When to unlearn thumbs?
Doctors will tell you that you can best learn the thumbs for the first year of life. The reason for this is that the thumbs no longer have a function and it becomes a (bad) habit rather than a necessity. But usually your child is still too young to understand why they have to unlearn that fine habit. Try it always.
If it does not work, make sure that your child stops at least if he or she is 4 to 5 years old. From that age, the thumbs can have permanent consequences for your child's teeth. That is because then the permanent teeth will come through.
What are the consequences of too long thumbs
The disadvantageous consequences of too long thumbs are:
- The teeth are crooked.
- Unclear talking like swish. This is caused by the tip of the tongue getting slack by thumbs.
- To breathe too much through the mouth which can cause cavities, sore throat, coughing and ear infection.
More information about thumbs can be read in our blog: baby learning thumbs.
Unleashing your thumbs is harder than sucking your child to suck on the teat. That is because you can ban a teat easier. A thumb is simply attached to your child and is therefore always and everywhere available.
However, if your child is 4 or 5 years old, he or she is at an age when you can explain things. Communicating clearly with your child is very important. You will not succeed if your child is not motivated. Also try out the following tips:
- Choose a quiet period when your child is relaxed and not under a certain pressure.
- Map the moments that your child is going to be thumbs. Perhaps there is a clear cause such as boredom or fatigue.
- Start with the thumbs up during the day.
- Clearly explain to your child why it is good to stop with your thumbs. Is your child open to it? Then make agreements about how your child can start reducing, so start with decreasing during the day.
- Does your child have a lot to comfort himself in order to relax? Offer alternatives and lead your child. You can do this by taking your child on your lap or doing a game.
- Reward your child if he or she has not, for example, half a day or an afternoon. A simple compliment can already work wonders, but you can also make it more fun. For example, by creating a large calendar. The days or afternoons that your child did not have a nice sticker.
- Enable an 'authority' if your child does not find your words convincing. Consider, for example, the dentist.
- Do not get angry if your child does thumb up, that works counterproductive and before you know it, the thumb is your best friend again. Therefore speak to your child quietly.
If you have a choice, do you opt for a teat or for the thumb?
Fun book to read to teach your child the thumbs.
Unlock your thumbs at night
Losing the thumbs during the day will already be a challenge, but it is often even harder to unlearn the night. That is because the thumbs were probably a very good way for your child to get to sleep. In addition, it often happens unconsciously and unfortunately the subconscious mind is not always susceptible. Time to get some other tricks out of the closet: