Thumb sucking 5 year old

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by forkids, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2008

    I have a 5 year old girl in my pre-k class who constantly sucks her thumb. I have taught pre-k for 9 years and have not had a student before who did this. I have had a few who would suck their thumb occasionally when tired or stressed, but not constantly- all day long - and they were young 4 year olds. Her thumb is a mess - red and sore looking most of the time. Her mom says she's always done it and does not seem to have a problem with it. Has anyone had a student like this? How did you handle it? Is it really unusual at this age? Should I leave her alone or try to correct her? I have been reminding her to take her thumb out of her mouth, but without much success since she does it constantly at home.
     
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  3. Teacher2Be123

    Teacher2Be123 Companion

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    Apr 26, 2008

    I don't have any advice for you, but I can tell you this. I graduated with a girl (from high school) who still would suck her thumb. She was in one of my classes and you would look at her and see it in her mouth. It might just be a comfort thing for the student. You won't be able to fix it without the support of the parents though, otherwise it is going to be a losing battle for you. Your telling her at school not to do it, but at home she is being allowed to do it.
     
  4. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    I'd ask the parents if they had brought it up with their dentist. Otherwise, leave it alone. Give the child plenty of things to occupy her hands and try to not let it get to you. I do know 2 Ks in my program who still suck their thumbs.
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I have a friend from New York who told me that she sucked her thumb through high school. She told me that she only stopped when one of her boyfriend's told her that he wouldn't hold her hand. Could there be 2 high school thumb suckers in NY?!:D
     
  6. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    My daughter sucked her thumb until she was 8 years old and only stopped then because we had a thumb guard put in her mouth to stop her. She regrets it nw because she is a junior in high school and has had braces on her teeth since 8th grade and still as another year at least.
     
  7. 2ndTimeArnd

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    Apr 26, 2008

    I have a 2nd grader who sucks her thumb a lot, mostly while we're in whole group meeting on the carpet. She hooks her index finger over her nose in the same position every time and just sort of gets this glazed-eye look. She is a sweet girl, but exceedingly needy and hangs on any adult who comes in the classroom. It drives me nuts, but I don't feel like there's much I can do, since apparently the parents aren't worried. If I were the mom, I'd SURE be worried ....
     
  8. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I've had a couple of kids who did that in my class. For one, they had the mouth guard put in, which was a torture device in my opionion and the child still found a way to suck his thumb. However, I tell kids who put their fingers/thumbs in their mouths to STOP it at school because other kids start copying them. NOthing like a class full of thumb suckers!
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    In our first grade class we make them wash their hands every time they are caught. We explain about germs as the reason in the beginning and touching things and people afterwards. They get tired of getting up and washing their hands so they dramatically decrease the behavior. The problem though is they still do it at home and then the next year they do it again in the next class.
     
  10. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Apr 27, 2008

    You're right about other kids copying it, Grammy. I have another girl whose parents had managed to break her from thumb sucking a year ago, and seeing this one do it all the time has gotten her back in the habit. There was another girl who had never sucked her thumb, and she started - her mom stopped her immediately, though. It's driving me crazy!
     
  11. Hoot Owl

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    Apr 27, 2008

    My daughter was a thumb sucker & nail bitter. At one point I gave her a straw to chew on and that satisfied her for a while.

    I like the hand-washing idea.
     
  12. iSaint

    iSaint Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2008

    I have about five thumb-suckers in my 11th grade English classes.
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    That's just amazing to me.
     
  14. Teacher2Be123

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    jw...what's a thumb guard? and from what i've read on this thread proud2ba, its possible that there are 2!
     
  15. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    My daughter's thumb guard was put in by her orthodontist. It looked like a piece of metal that was molded to the roof of her mouth so that she could not comfortably suck her thumb. She wore it about 6 months and when it came out she no longer sucked her thumb. This was a kid that was born with a callous on her thumb from sucking it before she was born. I had problem pregnancies and lots of ultrasounds and every ultrasound picture I have of her has the thumb in her mouth.
     
  16. iSaint

    iSaint Rookie

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    I tell them to put it in their pocket. They actually get mad. I just leave it alone.
     
  17. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    High School kids sucking their thumbs in class(or anywhere???) Pleaaaaaaaaaase tell me this isn't true.
     
  18. iSaint

    iSaint Rookie

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    High poverty, high minority, small-town, immature, spoiled, babied kids. It's true.
     
  19. MimiBee

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    Apr 28, 2008

    Just keep reminding her we don't suck thumbs in school. Have her get up and wash everytime like someone else suggested.

    My daughter just turned 11 and still sucks her thumb in her sleep. She knows not to do it during the day, but when she's asleep it creeps in. Ugh!
     
  20. Mrs_Barrett

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    Apr 28, 2008

    I took a class last week that dealt with stuff like this. One way to do deal with it, is give her something else to use. I.E. gum, sucker, or anything else to keep her mouth busy. Have her work on sucking and blowing activities.
     
  21. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    What?? :eek:
     
  22. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I don't know what the school is like or the people in your community, but regardless, there is no excuse for young ladies to be sucking their thumbs at this age. I would have to do everything possible to end it. We have the right to say what is appropriate conduct in our classrooms and have consequences for unacceptable behaviors. Are these girls retarded??? I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, but it sounds like they have some serious issues that should be dealt with. If they lack control of thumb sucking at their age, something is seriously wrong with them.
     
  23. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Thumb or finger sucking is inappropriate for my class for one main reason- hygiene. We wash hands at the start of class, after using the bathroom, before eating and using the water tables to prevent the spreading of germs. Hand washing is useless if children touch items after their fingers or hands were in their mouths.

    I have a finger sucker in here. Every time I see him with his fingers in his mouth, I ask him to wash his hands. This is for hygienic reasons not a punishment or deterrent. However, he has pretty much stopped the finger sucking here.
     
  24. bluebird1989

    bluebird1989 New Member

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    I like your idea of making the child get up and wash their hands each time you see them with their fingers in their mouths. but i have no sink in my room ( speech therapist; lucky to have a room). Can you suggest anything else. They enjoy using wipes and hand sanitizer, so when i tried that, they all wanted to do it. it was the opposite of a deterrent. thank you.
     
  25. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Perhaps if you use wipes, santitizer and maybe even lotion that has a bit of the harsh taste that will stick to the hands. Not enough to punish or posion anyone, just enough to make it not a reward.
     
  26. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    My daughter sucks her thumb, all the time. :( We do remind her to stop, because when I have the thumb sucking children in my room I am very unhappy. Eventhough my teachers side reminds her, she only stops for one second and then, pop, back in. I would love to say that I think I could stop her. But, the mom side can't really put that terrible mouth guard in her mouth. :eek:

    As far as the braces being causally related to thumb sucking our dentist said until the permanent teeth come in it doesn't really matter. He did say to continue to try to stop-but that something like 75% of high schoolers in our area wear braces, so there is a great probability she would with our without the thumb.

    My point is as a mom, and a early childhood teacher, it isn't always that the house "just lets them" or that the child is "trying to suck the thumb". Sometimes, it just is. :unsure:

    I do find the thumb suckers (and there seems to be more and more these days) can be detered with those chewy necklaces (for OT) and stuffed animals or stress balls to hold. Sometimes :wub:
     
  27. Maxadoodle

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    Kind of like the thumb suckers are the kids who put their hands inside their pants (usually in back), mostly during storytimes. So we have the thumb suckers, the hands-in-the-pants kids and nose-pickers quietly get up and wash their hands. Germs be gone.
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    We just ask ours to go wash their hands each time. We reinforce that it is for germ reasons at first and then we just quietly remind them to wash them every time we catch them. We don't make a big deal out of it. I find though that they get tired of getting up to wash their hands and it actually does decrease the habit, though it doesn't eliminate it. Ever give up that bad habit you are addicted to (in my case..soda)? Yup, it's hard.
     
  29. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I was a major nail biter growing up, and I remember at age five I would pull my pants down sometimes before going to the bathroom. I was one of those kids who was about two years ahead academically (I read on a second grade level), yet wasn't as mature as my peers. Yet there was nothing wrong with me, per se, and I outgrew that stage.

    I've heard of kids as old as second grade sucking their thumbs, yet they did not possess any mental/physical handicaps in any way. The child could be developmentally delayed, though. I would just have her wash her hands often.
     
  30. vbubbles1874

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    I have a thumb sucker!!! She drives me crazy!!!! I have had this girl in my class for 18 months. She will be 6 in January! I have spoken to both of her parents about it and they don't really seem bothered by it. I am so tired of seeing this little girl with her thumb in her mouth. I have done the whole washing hands every time I find it in her mouth. I have also put bandaids on both thumbs. It is totally involuntary and I think that I have narrowed down the cause. It think it has something to do with the lack of attention she gets from her parents. She is usually dropped off between 7-7:30 and isn't picked up until 6:00 or after. Then another child told me they saw her at the 24 hr. drop in daycare. Apparently she is there quite alot, I just think it's sad when people have kids and then leave them for other's to raise.
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    First of all, try not to let the thumb sucking kids "get to you." They are very little. I have had nail biters and I just tell them in passing, "stop biting your nails, please." Be patient. As for parents leaving kids in someone elses care, I don't like it when it'f for long hours either, but please consider this. There are single parents and couples working longer and longer hours to make ends meet. Sometimes parents have no choice but ask for outside help. Be glad they aren't leaving them home alone.
     
  32. vbubbles1874

    vbubbles1874 Companion

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    Not single parents, just lazy!
     
  33. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    I asked my pediatrician about this issue...he said as a pediatrician, it is his number one pet peeve, because it is generally the main cause for spread of germs amongst little ones...He says that it is one of the most fixable things, if parents would take the time and effort to get their kids to stop the behavior...he says childhood illnesses such as colds, thrush, and basic stomach viruses could be virtually wiped out if it weren't for the spread of mouth germs to contact surfaces.

    (neither of my children were allowed thumbs or pacifiers...actually, we did try the pacifiers for a couple of weeks, but neither were interested...I guess "i" was the pacifier...:lol:...and it was easy to break that habit. I feel for the parents because I know it is definitely a hard habit to break. Good luck!)
     
  34. MissHunny

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    I was a thumb sucker until late elementray school, yet never in public. I knew around K or first grade that it was inappropriate and I was embarassed to do it in public. I usually only did it at night, bf bed. I also always had a piece of fabric that I would scratch on while sucking my thumb. My parents tried making me wear a sock on my hand at night, bad tasting stuff on it, bandaids...nothing worked. I needed to outgrow it on my own. It was very calming for me. I think it is similar to how some people bite nails, twirl hair, etc. So I do think kids need to understand that it is not hygenic, and then they may become embarrased to do it in public, which may eventually lead to them stopping as it did with me. BTW I never needed braces.
     
  35. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Thanks, I feel very divided on this subject, like I said before. The teacher in me wants it to stop, the mom in me sees we aren't in charge of the child's body. I can move things (trying to get her to keep her thumb out of her mouth (unless you are ready for bed), but I can't control her body. But really the teacher side of me hopes to learn that the parents aren't always the problem.
     
  36. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    My older son sucked his ring finger and middle finger until he was nearly 4. His preschool teacher told him that he could suck them, but he had to wash his hands EVERY time. He got tired of it and stopped...... BUT, my youngest son was a thumb sucker. He would get up and wash his hands EVERY time. He had a little social pressure when he went to Kindergarten, but would suck at night when he was sleeping. I tried everything. We put bad tasting stuff from the pharmacy, sleeping with a cotton sock on his hand, etc. The only thing that worked was paying him a quarter for every night he didn't suck it. Dad agreed to pay him for 6 weeks. After that, the habit was broken. (I never like paying my kids, but it was the only thing that worked.) Of course, he had gotten into a habit of using his tongue to make a suction in him mouth to swallow, so we ended up getting the metal habit reminder and braces, too. We still have a couple more years I think.

    So far, the handwashing has worked in my class, but I usually talk to the parents first and try to follow their suggestions, if within reason.
     

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