• How do I stop my 22-month old daughter from sucking her fingers?

    Thumb or finger sucking is normal for young children. However, if you want your child get over this habit, Dr. Rosanne Sugay takes us through some strategies. 
    by Rosanne Sugay, M.D. .
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    Q. How do I stop my 22-month old daughter from sucking her 2 fingers?

     

    A. Although typically associated with thumbs, digit sucking in toddlers is a common occurrence. It starts with the comforting effect non-nutritive sucking gives to babies. Most children will outgrow the habit on their own by the time they are 4 or 5 years old.  If you want to stop the habit at a younger age, positive reinforcement is usually the way to go:

    • Praise your child when you notice that she is not sucking her fingers.
    • Use a reward system such as a sticker chart.
    • If you think she sucks her thumb when she is bored, give her toys and things that require her to use both hands.

     

    If these don't work and you are concerned because you think her teeth will not develop correctly, talk to your pediatrician or dentist. There are devices and products (finger guards, a bitter tasting non-toxic "nail polish", etc.) that are available to help stop the habit.

     

     

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    About the Author: Rosanne Sugay, M.D., is an Internist and Pediatrician at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. She is constantly reminded by her two year old that children don't read the same pediatric textbooks as she does and will therefore always do the unexpected.

     

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