Tonight, I intentionally persuaded my two year old to take a pacifier.
I know. You probably think I’m terrible.
Let me explain… When Charlotte was born, HOS and I agreed that we did not want her to use a pacifier. Lucky for us, Charli started sucking on her index and middle finger of her left hand from day one!
Naively, we thought the finger sucking was adorable, innocent and far more convenient than any pacifiers. Twenty-nine months later, we are in the beginning stages of a losing battle to kick the habit.
Charlotte isn’t conscious of her finger sucking issue. We ask her to stop, and she removes her fingers only to pop them back in a few moments later. She sucks her finger so hard, she is starting to develop blisters and callouses.
Tonight, she held out her hand to show me two deep grooves from her teeth! She is biting and sucking on them so hard she has sores!
I gave up!
I offered her the only alternative I knew. And you know what, I’m not even sorry. I would rather teach her to use the pacifier and then break her of that habit than let her continue sucking her fingers.
What do you do to help your children overcome their bad habits?
I am in the “whatever works” camp. There is no right or wrong, unless we make our kids nuts :). I had the same problem when Hanna was little. She may not have sucked her thumb quite as much as Charli does, but she continued until she was four, I think, mostly by that time while she was asleep. Finally the dentist told us that she was pushing her front teeth out of line, and he suggested a dental apparatus that would prevent the suction and that would cure the habit. But I knew she was willing to stop and would cooperate if I came up with plan B. So I wrapped her thumb and a finger together with some tape, just enough to interrupt the habit. Within days, she had completely stopped. What was in it for her was the reward of a really cool pair of pj’s from the latest princess movie, which she absolutely adored!
But the conditions were right: she was willing, it had become a totally unconscious habit, mom was motivated by the dentist’s warning, and she was motivated by the bribe. But once again, I know that what works for one doesn’t work for the next. We considered the yukky tasting stuff you could buy at that time to stop thumb sucking, and I think that might have worked. But that seemed somewhat negative, like punishment, which wasn’t the idea at all. She was doing it so unconsciously, so it wasn’t a battle of wills or even of her being stubborn.
So that’s my story, hoping you will figure out something successful too. The pacifier might be just enough to interrupt the old finger habit, so that seems logical. But if that doesn’t work, maybe the bandaid thing would work, assuming that she was willing to go along with you and not just pull it off. Have the Frozen people put out some cool pj’s?