Lose The Blankie & Put A Stop To Thumb Sucking

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,033
    Valorie Burton for Focus on the Family explains when parents should intervene with their child’s self-soothing mechanism.

    Valorie Burton: Parents sometimes worry about their child heading off to kindergarten still dragging around a blankie or even sucking their thumb. Whether it's the common pacifier or the even more popular thumb, the sucking reflex is so powerful in young kids that sometimes they just can't seem to stop. It's a self-soothing mechanism, that gives them security and a sense to calm themselves when the world is stressful.

    But is there a point when parents should intervene? It depends. Some children have actually damaged their mouths, that's why dentists will often recommend an orthopedic pacifier. Some kids naturally outgrow childhood must have's like a pacifier or blankie, but others may need gradual and gentle encouragement. Try awarding your child whenever he doesn't suck his thumb for a period of time or can go somewhere without a blanket. Also some parents make the blanket disappear little by little. When it comes out of the laundry just snip a bit off each time, eventually it gets smaller and smaller until it's the size of a little hanky.

    Your child can carry it around until the point where it's not longer needed, and that of course is the goal that your child doesn't need a thumb or blankie or anything else to feel secure.