On a scale of the worst addictions possible, there’s meth addiction coming in at number one and then thumb sucking at number two. Okay, maybe it’s not that serious, but it’s a pretty hard habit to break! My 5 year old sucked her thumb for 4 years before breaking that awful, terrible habit. And I can owe it all to my husband. He’s the genius behind her breaking that bad habit.

Let me give you some background on Londyn. She has used any form of sucking (bottles, binkis, thumb) to calm her down since the day she was born. She would suck on a bottle with nothing in it. When it was time to say bye to the binki, we cut the nipple and she still continued to use it! It was her comfort. This girl was obsessed! And when we took both the bottle and binki away, she started sucking her thumb! I mean, we couldn’t catch a freaking break!

We tried EVERYTHING!!! We first started by using that gross polish on her thumb. She didn’t care at all, she just sucked that crap right off. When that didn’t work, I ordered a thumb guard off amazon and that lasted maybe two days. She always took it off, and when we decided to use a safety pin to hold it together instead of the Velcro that came on it, she figured out how to take that off too. This girl was determined! We tried giving her bubble gum when she would start sucking, giving her something to draw or color so her hands would be occupied, disciplining her, taking away toys and privileges. Nothing worked!

I can’t even tell you how many times a day I would say, “Londy, take your thumb out of your mouth!”

First of all, my daughter looks 2 years older than she really is, so she looked like a 7 year old sitting there sucking her thumb! It was a little embarrassing. And not to mention her teeth were getting extremely bucky. Whenever I looked at her teeth, all I saw were dollar signs. I took her to the dentist and they suggested I put an appliance in her mouth, but they did warn me that a lot of kids will manage to rip them out. And those things are not cheap! And with her record, she would find a way!

So, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I told my husband to figure something out.  He came to me with a brilliant plan.

REWARD her for when she does not suck her thumb, INSTEAD of DISCIPLING her when she did suck her thumb!

Um HELLO! Why didn’t I think of that?!?!? Bribery works like a charm on children!

You guys, I’m not joking, it took her only a week of this rewarding business, before she stopped sucking her thumb COMPLETELY! Like, she has NEVER sucked her thumb since! Not even a night. And I know because if she sucked it during the night, her thumb would look like a raisin in the morning.

So here’s how the rewarding went down:

If she didn’t suck her thumb all day long, when her dad got home from work they would go to the dollar store and she could pick out 1 item.

There were a few times where she sucked her thumb and I would have to tell her dad. She was DEVASTATED!! So she would try SO hard not to suck her thumb and she would get SO EXCITED to tell her dad when he got home from work that she hadn’t done it all day! I think that is key! The anticipation of waiting for dad to get home so they could go to the dollar store and knowing how PROUD we were of her!

I also think it was because her dad was the one who was taking the initiative on this.  As a stay at home mom, they hear our voices and our demands WAY TOO MUCH! So they kind of zone it out. It’s just one other thing that we are yelling at them about. But, it was Jon doing the disciplining and rewarding, and it gave her ONE ON ONE time with her dad when they would go to the dollar store. She looked forward to it ALL DAY LONG, that she even gave up her worst habit for it.

So in a nutshell, here’s three things I suggest:

  1. Reward your child, instead of discipline.
  2. Have the child’s dad, or someone else other than the mom, be in charge of rewarding.
  3. Let your child know how proud you are of them for accomplishing one of the worst habits!!!

I hope this works for you, and if it doesn’t just go ahead and cut their thumbs off! 😉

xoxo Ashton

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