Biting, thumb sucking and nose picking can be hard habits to break. Often, parents get frustrated and don't know where to start.
Here are a few tips to try-and a few things not to do-to bust those bad habits.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice.
Infants are naturally soothed and comforted by sucking, and most babies suck a thumb, finger or pacifier at some point. Most kids will stop without any help from a parent, but for some kids, thumb sucking persists and eventually can lead to dental problems. Even when a child wants to stop, thumb sucking can become a mindless activity.
Here are some tips to help your child stop:
Try to get buy-in from the child. It may help to use examples they can relate to: "Does Barney (or other favorite character) suck his thumb?"
Try to replace the thumb or fingers with a blanket or stuffed animal to hug.
Give reminders: Ask "Do you know you are sucking your thumb?" or apply tape or a Band-Aid to the thumb as a reminder.
Give a star for every day (or hour) without thumb sucking. Then allow the child to buy a special toy with the earned stars.
If all else fails, teach your child to limit thumb sucking to the house or the bedroom.
DO NOT be too restrictive because it can cause anxiety and have the opposite effect.