Recently my wife and I weened our daughter off of the beloved "binky" (thing they suck on / chew toy / projectile!). We let her know in advance that we thought the "Binky Fairy" may be coming soon and would leave her a gift, but in return the binky would be gone forever. Our daughter asked where it would go. We told her that a new little baby would receive it. That seemed to work for her.
The day came, the binky disappeared and a nicely wrapped gift awaited her in her room when she woke up. She was thrilled, opened the gift to find a doll, now aptly named the binky fairy doll and she understands the binky is now a thing of the past.
Now she sucks her thumb! I liked the binky fairy deal, the binky is gone, out of sight out of mind. I can't lop off her thumbs, that seems just a little excessive! What can we do to encourage not sucking on our thumb?
From: Blame me, Portsmouth
Hi Blame me!
Learn to love her thumb.
I know you don't like that answer but here's why I think it's the best advice I can give you: Sucking her thumb is a source of comfort for your daughter. That's something every child needs.
Listen, you deserve a lot of credit for the Binky Fairy and your lead-up to it. But your daughter deserves even more credit. She figured out how to cope without her beloved binky! She's a problem solver!
Most children simply out grow thumb sucking at some point. OK, maybe not as young as you'd like, but the good news for you is that girls are more likely to recognize that it's a babyish activity and to feel self-conscious and give it up at age 4 or so. At about that age, you can push the process along by telling her that thumbsucking is for going to sleep.
There are lots of products out there to put on the thumb so it won't taste good. I think that's plain mean. There's the possibility that prolonged thumb sucking means you might end up with orthodontist bills. What are the chances you'd do that anyway? There are plenty of parents who embarrass their child every time he/she sucks. That makes me cringe.
Life is stressful, even for kids. What could be more wonderful than having a way to alleviate that stress right there, attached to your hand? Trust me, she will not be sucking her thumb on her wedding day.
I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with
some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.
The author is solely responsible for the content.