March 02, 2011

When Earrings Aren't Enough

I've been battling three thumb suckers for quite some time now. I've tried applying pretty fingernail polish. The thumbsuckers ask that their thumbs not be painted. I've tried bribery. Roo, who doesn't suck her thumb was allowed to pierce her ears. The other three want pierced ears, but aren't willing to give up the thumb.
I've made a huge deal out of Roo's earrings. Everyone wants to be involved in watching her clean her earrings and, recently, change into brand new earrings. (Unfortunately, a stone fell out of the brand new earrings as I put them in, so the thrill of the new ones wore off fast).
Now? I'm making good on my threats of "sock mittens." That's right, sock mittens. The dentist recommended these awhile ago. You put a sock on the thumb sucking hand at night and, according to him, voila! No more thumb sucking. (OK, he did say it would take a few weeks). 
I hesitated to do this on his first recommendation because it was summer. I know how hot I can get at night, so I wanted to try some other things. Which didn't work. So the other night, the socks came out. 
The first night was a success. No one sucked her thumb. No one complained. Roo even asked for sock mittens, so I had to explain they're a punishment not a reward.
The second night, no one complained, but I noticed after bath time the thumb suckers were trying to sneak in some thumb sucking on the couch before bed time. My solution? The socks go on now as soon as they're done with baths. The only time they really suck their thumbs is when they're winding down for the night. They actually put the socks on last night after their showers without complaint.
So far we're on the right track. The thumb sucking is almost gone. I think. We'll see what happens when I attempt to take the socks off for good.


Anonymous said...

Make sure their cute socks. I made my daughters thumb mittens from white flannel. I embroidered flowers on them and made them quite pretty. They tied around the thumb, and again around the wrist. A neighbor came by and said her son wanted one, so I made him a few boy sock mittens.

Holly Ann said...

Oh, I will have to try that! Acacia's thumb-sucking is really affecting her speech and I'm afraid it's part of the reason she has an overbite already.

Mona Baker said...

they will probably suck in their sleep if you remove them soon, usually with physical habits it is better to assist than punish, they are just too little to do the earring for thumb thing, and would you let their holes grow up if they regressed? anyway, it's great that they do not see it as punishment, go with mommy is using these socks to help you have pretty teeth later and thumbs, socks are tools and should be referred to as such, then they can try going without when they think they are ready and go back if necc, i applaud your efforts to end this now, it is a hard behaviour to change and a lot of parents don't even try to the detriment of those who can't afford braces, good luck and keep us in the loop

Quadmama said...

The dentist was concerned about thumb sucking changing the shape of their palette. Hubby had to have a "palette cracker" before braces and said it was quite painful. We know they'll need braces... we're hoping to avoid the "cracking" device. So far they see it as a game of sorts and seem to correct themselves on their own, which is fine with me. I'm hoping a few weeks with the socks will be enough to drive the point home. Still, I know the whole "self soothing" issue is a big one, so I can't blame them if they regress.

Sarah said...

Thanks for posting this! We aren't attempting to break Keira of her habit yet (she's not yet 3), but we will in the future. Hope it keeps working for you guys!

MaryAnne said...

I'm glad the socks are working!

Post a Comment