Indianapolis Temple

Indianapolis Temple

Operation: Thumb-Sucking

9/18/2010 07:11:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
Lara started sucking her thumb when she was a few months old. At first, I was all right with it. No losing a binky, she was a great sleeper, etc. But now that she's in preschool the thumb-sucking has got to go, especially since the dentist said that she's starting to narrow her palate with it. I would rather not pay for orthodontia because of thumb-sucking. So armed with this...

2010 Princess Ball
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Her Royal Highness Princess Tiana
Would like to cordially invite
all of the princesses
in the surrounding kingdoms
To join her and her princess friends
Saturday October 23 rd
For a Royal Celebration!

and my training in behavioral management (thanks to being a music therapist and working at Helping Hands), I put my child on a behavior plan.

Step One- The motivation. I got Lara really excited about attending the Princess Ball for which I bought buy one get one free tickets here (Columbus residents, I really recommend this site). This was really key since if a child isn't motivated there's no use trying to change a behavior.

Step Two- Prevention. Reed bought some Dora band-aids to put on both of her thumbs. This would help remind her of the reward and it worked like a charm. She even asked for the band-aids one day because she didn't want to suck her thumb at all and wanted the reminders.

Step Three- Replacement behaviors. We talked about all sorts of things she could do instead of suck her thumb. Sing a song, chew gum, do a fingerplay, color, anything that was more appropriate.

Step Four- The reward chart. I needed something that could easily be used for 3 weeks (3 weeks makes a habit) and could also be used at school. I decided on a necklace on which we could string beads every day. Every time someone caught her not sucking her thumb, she would get one bead to put on her necklace. Hopefully at the end of 3 weeks, she'll have a necklace full of beads.

So far, she has done an awesome job! She talks all the time about how excited she is for the Princess Ball and how she's not going to suck her thumb. I might even throw in a new fancy dress because she's done so well. It's so great to see the look of pride on her face when she tells someone about her goal. She even took a nap today without sucking her thumb, a major accomplishment! GO LARA!


Sami Dara said...

Great job Lara! You are such a good mom to do this. I'll have to keep these steps in mind for the future!

Natasha said...

What a great idea! Go Lara!

Carrie Nation said...

I love this post -- both for you and for Lara. I was also a thumb-sucker, but I think I went all the way to age 4. I really wanted a pet turtle, and my mom said I would have to stop the thumb-sucking first. And just like that I stopped. The right motivation is a huge plus.