The Bad Habit

Nash is a finger sucker. Since birth he has sucked his two middle fingers. I was thrilled that he wasn’t a binky baby and instead he learned early on to calm himself by sucking his fingers. It was adorable, too. But that season has come to an end because his teeth are showing the affects of the 4 year old bad habit! One tooth is headed back and the other forward! This is going to be a hard habit to break and a new parenting challenge opportunity. We’ve tried a few little things the past 6 months to make him more aware of the habit and have talked a lot about how he is a big boy and needs to stop sucking his fingers. Though in his heart he is willing and open to stopping, like any bad habit, it’s just really tough to stop. I have done tons of research,spoken to our doctors and dentists and consulted with some other mamas. Finally this week we decided to take the plunge and get a finger guard to assist us in the process. I say “us” because this is a family thing and I think it will take each one of us to help the sweet guy break this habit.

The finger guard Nash wears at night.

Sleeping sweet boy...It looks like it is working! He would usually be sucking his fingers all night long.

The guard came in the mail yesterday afternoon and Nash wore it successfully al last night. He was so proud of himself this morning!! Beaming! We decided to make a big deal of his successes on this journey, so he and Bryson went out on a father and son dinner date tonight.

We have also been reading this book…

(I hate the cover — do mama and papa really have to look so angry with sister?!) When I read the book to Nash, I tweak it a little to make sister’s habit similar to Nash’s. He loves it and it seems to really help him understand why we need to break the habit. We decided to follow the Berenstain’s advice  (like the story) and instead of giving Nash a prize at the end of 2 weeks if he successfully stops sucking his fingers, we did the opposite and gave him the prize  after the first night (hence the giant lego spaceship in the picture). The rule is, he may keep the toy as long as he doesn’t suck his fingers. But if he does suck his fingers or takes his guard off at night he has to give back the toy for the rest of the day. I’ll let you know how our strategy works out! Every kid is different, but Nash agreed to and was excited about this plan so we are going to give it our best shot!

The funny thing is, as much as I want him to stop, it’s so bittersweet. My baby’s not a baby anymore! Sniff, sniff.

Anyone else have suggestions for helping your little people (or grown people) break a bad habit? We all have them…


2 thoughts on “The Bad Habit

  1. Carson used to be a thumb sucker, and painted ALL his fingernails with Mavala STOP. It worked like a charm! 🙂 The bad habit was broken in about a week! That stuff is nasty!!!! 🙂

  2. Caleb was a thumb sucker and we also used the finger nail polish stuff that tasted bad. But instead of buying a guard, I taped a sock over his hand at night! Every morning that sock was still on his hand and dry he got to put a sticker on a chart that said, “Superheroes Don’t Suck Their Thumbs” since at that time he was obsessed with being Captain America! We told him when the chart was full he could go to the store and get anything he wanted!!! (under $20 🙂 ) He was super excited and it worked really well. He stopped sucking about a year ago and I am also happy to report his teeth have actually gotten better…. like they are shifting back right. I think you are doing a great job!!

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