It was bound to happen. Nathaniel and the Ladybug were not thumbsuckers. Neither were the Twizzlers until they were seven months old. SEVEN. MONTHS. OLD. They waited seven months outside of my body to decide that they were indeed thumb suckers. I’m not sure how this happened. Secretly I didn’t want thumb suckers because I know how hard it is to break the habit from personal experience. Yep, I’m one of those people who went into her teenage years sucking her thumb, and I didn’t want my children to have to suffer with the anxiety that I had at that age, so when Dr. Susan contacted me to see if I wanted to try out her Thumbow creation, I was ready and willing!
The system consists of three parts. An arm brace, custom thumb tape (it’s blue) and a calendar that counts down 33 days until the habit has been broken. There is a little magnetic dog that advances one square for each day that your child does not suck their thumb. There are a few rules that we did have to follow, such as taking away any cue items. For Lil Miss, it was her blanket, but this task was a bit harder with Sir. Twizzler. Anything can evoke the need to suck his thumb, mostly being idle – car rides, and television watching were the biggest culprits. Any time where he didn’t have his hands doing something (schoolwork, playing, helping to garden) is when we are supposed to put the arm brace on, and of course during naps and sleeping through the night. The system retails for $34.95 and ships at a flat rate of $5.95. With every purchase, $1 is donated to Pencils of Promise to provide one week of education to children in need. The brace and all items are a blue and yellow, and the colors are not customizable, which didn’t bother me, but I’m pretty easy to please.
This kit struck me as odd when I first opened it. I couldn’t fathom how we were going to break the thumb-sucking habits of one kid (Lil Miss) who sucked both of her thumbs and the other kid (Sir. Twizzler) who seemed to be more attached to thumb-sucking. Well. Lil Miss stopped sucking her thumb after two weeks and hasn’t looked back. Her prize for completing the journey was a Doc McStuffins plushie. She has it now, thanks to Poppy and Mor Mor for its purchase. The head is HUGE but that’s another story.
Sir Twizzler chose a He-Man action figure as his endgame prize. We’ve started over several times because he’s way more creative with being able to suck his thumb than Lil Miss was. He’s figured out how to get out of the brace, and believe me, it’s HARD to remove, and he seems to have become a contortionist. Never fear though, with his twin by his side encouraging him to stay the road so he can “GET YOUR HE-MAN TOY!” I’m sure we’ll see success soon! And this program isn’t just for thumbsuckers. I know plenty of children who suck their two middle fingers, or their first two fingers. It can be used in conjunction with all of those as well. It just takes a lot of patience, and the realization that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So when you have setbacks like we have had with Sir. Twizzler (I’ve had this system for a couple of months now) don’t give up. It’ll come soon enough. I also have to say that it’s not recommended for children under the age of five because by that age they usually stop on their own. As I said in the beginning of the post though, I’m a reformed thumbsucker, and I know that it took me way past the age of five to stop. Good thing we have all of the extra blue thumb tape left over from Lil Miss’ kit.
We’re hoping to get to the point where we don’t have to constantly remind Sir Twizzler to remove his thumb from his mouth, because redirection for me doesn’t really happen all that often. If the kids are quiet AND not destroying anything, I’m pretty happy. Hey. I have four children, we have to buy our happiness somewhere.
I know that soon enough, we will be a house full of children who look for other ways to fill their idle time. Like chasing the dog with a bucket of water.
Do you have a thumbsucker? A reformed thumbsucker? What worked for you?