Wednesday, October 7, 2009

That sucks!!!

Fingers, that is. 

As in the issue that I have been hoping and praying would resolve itself has no - Savannah still sucks her fingers at nearly six years old.  I swear, the child came out of the womb with her fingers in her mouth.  She has sucked the same 2 fingers - her middle and ring finger on her right hand forever!!!  Those fingers are wrinkled and callused and the nails are almost non-existent.

I have always taken the position that the problem would resolve itself - but so far no luck. For about the past year, Savannah has been taking speech therapy for some speech issues that, according to her speech teacher, are exacerbated by her sucking.  So, we have embarked on a campaign to help her quit.  We took the laid back approach, we took the positive reinforcement approach, we did reminders, incentives, you name it with the single exception of negative consequences (which I don't want to do for this issue) - we have tried about everything.

So, about a week ago, we decided on the ultimate incentive.  We told Savannah that when she stops sucking her fingers, she will get a Nintendo DS.  And she wants one - BAD!!!  She is trying so hard!!!  But, it is such an unconscience habit that she does it when she is not thinking about it - including when she is asleep.

So, after talking with Dan and also with Savannah - I ordered a finger guard from One Step Ahead.  It is a plastic piece that fits over 2 fingers to serve as a reminder not to suck.  We are only going to do it at home - her teachers say she is doing really well at school - I guess she stays busier there and is less apt to fall into an unconscience habit.  And the point is to help her kick her habit - not draw more attention to it!!!  So, she will wear it at home including while she sleeps and we will see how it goes.  She is open to it - she sees it (as she should, I think) as a way to help remind her to do something else other than put her fingers in her mouth.

I really hope we are doing the right thing.  She has 2 loose teeth now and I know it is really important to get this licked before her permenant teeth come in.

Are we doing the right thing?  What would you do?


  1. I don't know - Max sucks his fingers too - and I'm kind of hoping he grows out of it, but I doubt he will. My sister also sucked her fingers, and in general no dental problems at all, and no speech problems either. So, i don't know, it's not as bad as thumb, but I'll have to ask my mom what they did with my sister! I had no idea they made finger guards. Max really only sucks when he's tired.

  2. My little sister had a bad finger-sucking habit, so at three years old, she started wearing mittens whenever she wasn't actively doing something with her hands. She wanted to stop, but like your girl, it was an unconscious habit. That worked really well, because she could still use her hands and bend her fingers, but she didn't want the mittens in her mouth. She is six years old now and still sleeps with her mittens on because she tries to suck her fingers in her sleep. The only trouble she has while awake is when she is watching a movie, so we make sure she has a doll or stuffed animal to hold on to occupy her hands.

  3. @Jenny - definately let me know what worked for your sister! Hopefully Max will stop easier than Savannah!

    @Amy - the mittens are a great idea. I amy get her some and give her a choice of what to wear around the house. I want her to feel a part of the process and that she is making her own choices rather than "forcing" something on her.


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