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Health Tip: Help Your Child Give Up Thumb Sucking

(HealthDay News) -- If your child is ready to stop sucking the thumb, there are things you can do to ease the transition.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these suggestions:

  • Offer plenty of praise and small rewards when your child isn't sucking the thumb.

  • Find fun things to distract a child who sucks the thumb out of boredom.

  • Talk to the child's pediatrician or dentist about any problems with your child's teeth or palate. Devices can be placed in the mouth that make it uncomfortable to suck a thumb.

  • Talk to your child about how to quit the habit. If your child appears frightened or stressed by the notion of quitting, don't pressure the child.

  • Avoid punishments, speaking harshly or teasing your child about the habit.

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