Fingers & Thumbs

Helpful tips and FAQs


Helpful tips and FAQs

Finger and Thumb Gloves – Finger and Thumb Guards

Why does my child need to stop sucking their finger or thumb?

Many children enjoy sucking thumbs or sucking fingers during sleep time or to comfort them during the day when they are babies and toddlers. This is regarded as perfectly normal and most online research suggest that the majority of children drop the habit when they are between 4 – 6 years old just like the pacifiers are put away or the comfort blanket is left behind in the cupboard. For some children however this is not so easy and they are either unwilling or finding it incredible hard to stop sucking their fingers and thumbs. The main problem for those not stopping when their adult teeth start coming in, we were told by our dentist, is that significant changes happen to the roof of the mouth and can result in mouth malocclusion. Crooked teeth may be the result and braces may be required to rectify the problem.

Do I need to seek medical advice?

Other health problem can arise by excessive finger or thumb sucking such as sore thumb blisters, nail infections or wart looking lumps. Should you have any concerns regarding the severity of your child’s habit with sucking their fingers or thumbs or any other health related issues that may have risen from the habit please seek advice from your GP and Dentist.

How to use the glove - finger and thumb guards / How do we get started

As with any habit it is important that you talk to your child and find out when and where (or particularly why they suck their fingers and thumbs). Usually this will be at night time, idle time or down to plain old boredom, comfort whilst watching the television or as with our children on longer car journeys. However, it is also suggested that it could be due to anxiety and so this should be dealt with as an issue perhaps with help from school or your GP. We recommend not to punish the child for sucking their fingers or thumbs but introducing a reward chart that praises them for trying and ensure you place enough gloves around the house where the habit typically kicks in. In our house at one point we had a glove in the living room, the bedrooms, the kitchen, the car and one in our travel bag for those longer journeys. Now that the children are older they usually remember where the gloves are so we no longer need 4 or 5 on the go. Then set the rules – if watching TV = the glove must go on, if going the bed = the glove goes on (and must stay on until the morning). You know your own child best so you know how to encourage them to take part and stop the thumb sucking habit and also which kind of reward will be the best for them. If you have good tips to all the other parents also dealing with this issue right this moment please do share them via our site.

When is my child old enough to use the gloves - finger and thumb guards

It is suggested that most children stop the habit by themselves therefore we do not advise using the gloves for children under 4 years old. The problem starts when their adult teeth come in when they are approx. 5 or 6 years old and this is when - according to our dentist - we should start being concerned about stopping the habit.

Is the glove or thumb guard also suitable for children wanting to stop biting nails

The gloves were not designed specifically for biting nails habit but we are happy to help with tailor making a glove if you think your child could benefit.

Recommendation

Helping your child to stop their habit can be utterly frustrating but keep going – you will see that you and they will get there in the end!

We further recommend the below for helping you and your child:

Reward chart

Do set up a reward chart for your child. Encouragement and rewards give a sense of achievement and we found that our children responded much better and cooperated in wanting to stop (because after all – it is just a habit).

Nail Gel and hand crème (because it doesn't taste nice)

Try basic hand crème and Mavala Stop Nail biting varnish. Please do note though that we as parents are very good at telling our children to wash their hands often so these will need to be re-applied during the day.

Finger plasters

Finger Strip plasters are particularly great for finger sucking habits as they allow your child wear a protective plaster which is not particularly noticeable (all children wear plasters now and again) so does not prompt embarrassing questions and ensures that fingers stay out of the mouth.

Books

There are various books available so do have a look at which one might suit your family best. 

Stop Sucking Your Thumb Stop Sucking Your Fingers by Lynda Hudson

Charlie's Thumb by Runa Mowla-Copley 

David Decides About Thumbsucking: A Story for Children, a Guide for Parents by Susan P H. D. Heitler 

Further reading – useful websites

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumb_sucking

http://www.orthodontists.org.nz/common-orthodontic-issues?id=48

http://www.brightsidedental.co.uk/blog/treatments/dental-advice/how-to-stop-thumb-sucking/

http://www.banterspeech.com.au/thumb-and-finger-sucking-facts-and-treatment-options/