As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to help your child succeed. But when it comes to stopping them from chewing their fingers, you may not know where to start.
Wondering about how to stop my son from chewing his fingers? But it’s not even that hard as breaking a big rock!!!
I’ll show you how to prevent child from fingers chewing in this guide.
The first step to solving this problem is understanding why your child may be doing it. A child might chew their fingers for many reasons, including anxiety, stress, or boredom. Once you know the cause of the behavior, you can work on finding an appropriate solution for them.
Why does your child chew his fingers?
Understanding thy myth behind chewing fingers is important before concluding the answer and thinking of implementations.
There are some myths that are being told.
- “Chewing fingers is a habit.”
- “It’s not good for teeth.”
- “It’s just the way it has been passed on from generation to generation.”
I think these myths should be busted as they have no relevance now as days and ages have changed, so changing them is highly recommended.
Here are some reasons why a child might chew their fingers:
- Attention-seeking behavior: Chewing fingers may serve as a way for a child to gain attention or seek comfort from their caregivers.
- Coping mechanism: Chewing fingers can serve as a coping mechanism for dealing with emotions such as frustration, boredom, or even excitement.
- Exploration and curiosity: Children naturally explore their surroundings through their senses, including their mouths. Chewing fingers may be a part of this exploration process.
- Teething: Beyond the initial teething stage, some children continue to chew on their fingers as a way to alleviate discomfort from new teeth coming in or from gum irritation.
- Self-soothing: Chewing on fingers can be a self-soothing technique for children to help them relax, feel secure, or manage overwhelming emotions.
- Imitation: Children often imitate the behaviors they observe in others. If they see someone in their environment, such as a sibling or friend, chewing their fingers, they may mimic this behavior.
Chewing fingers, nail-biting, or thumb-sucking in children is very common and begins when a baby is about 3 to 5 months old. As they start growing teeth, it becomes difficult for them to soothe themselves with their hands and mouths. In the process, the baby starts chewing on their fingers to alleviate the pain of their growing teeth.
Remember, each child is unique, and the reasons behind finger-chewing may vary. It is essential to observe your child’s behavior, consider their individual circumstances, and seek appropriate professional advice if needed.
How can I stop my son from chewing his fingers?
Here are some tips you can follow if you are wondering how to stop my son from chewing his fingers.
P.S: These are not meant to be foolproof, but they have worked for many parents in the past.
1. Talk to your child
Start making your child aware of the fact that what they are doing is wrong by telling them to stop every time you see them chewing their fingers. If you continue to do this, they will learn over time that what they are doing is not right and eventually stop putting their fingers in their mouths.
Create awareness through visual cues: Use reminders such as colorful wristbands or stickers on the child’s fingers to make them more conscious of their habit. This visual cue can serve as a gentle reminder to avoid finger-chewing.
Address underlying emotional needs: Talk to the child about their feelings and emotions. Help to develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, or boredom. Encourage open communication and provide emotional support.
2. Maintain oral hygiene
Encourage regular brushing and flossing of teeth. Keeping the child’s mouth clean and fresh may reduce the inclination to chew on fingers.
3. Offer healthy alternatives
Provide crunchy snacks like carrot sticks or apple slices that satisfy the child’s need for oral stimulation. Opt for nutritious options that promote overall well-being.
4. Keep hands busy
Engage the child in activities that keep their hands occupied, such as playing with stress balls, building blocks, or puzzles. Keeping their hands busy reduces the opportunity to chew on their fingers.
5. Redirecting the child’s behavior
If your child is chewing on their fingers because of anxiety or boredom, you might want to try and redirect their behavior. This can be done by distracting your child with toys, books, or even a trip outdoors.
6. Ignore it
As tempting as it may be, you must try to ignore your child when they put their fingers in their mouth. If you laugh, make a big deal about the situation, or even scold them for doing it, your child will become aware that what they are doing is wrong. If this happens, they will keep putting their fingers in their mouth because they know that you will get angry.
7. Deterrent treatment
This seems one of the best ways to me. You can check out deterrent treatment products online. MAVALA stop nail polish is the same product I recently learned about. It helps your kid not to put fingers in the mouth plus, and allows nails to grow.
This nail polish is bitter yet harmless, encouraging your kid to avoid putting fingers in his mouth.
8. Use a reward system
Finally, you can always try implementing a reward system to encourage your child not to chew their fingers. For example, every time they manage to go through an entire day without putting their fingers in their mouth let them pick a small toy or treat it as a prize. After some time, the behavior will slowly stop and eventually disappear completely.
? Read Also: How To Boost Confidence In Child
Using muzzle for babies
When all else fails, you might want to try using a muzzle. Trust me, I know it sounds horrible, but this will be the last resort to stop your child from chewing their fingers. This is especially useful if they are putting their hands in their mouth only when the parents are not around or at night while they are sleeping.
– Try using a muzzle when you are with your child
You can try putting the muzzle on when you are around to prevent them from chewing their fingers and eventually they will stop.
– Put it on when they go to sleep
Sometimes kids chew their fingers while they are sleeping and this is why you could consider putting it on while your child is asleep.
– Keep it on for a few days and gradually remove it
The muzzle should be something you use rarely so you might want to keep the child’s fingers inside for a couple of days and then slowly start removing it until your child does not need it at all.
There are many different things your child can do to express their anxiety or boredom, but there is a reason why they choose to chew their fingers. This behavior might be annoying and frustrating, but you have to remember not to scold them for it because you might make the situation worse.
In most cases, the simple answer to how to stop my son from chewing his fingers is:
- Keep their hands busy
- Do boredom-busting activities
- Use reward system
All that is needed is a little bit of patience and a reward system to get rid of the habit.
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Mo is a home-based Mommie and a passionate journalist. She loves to help other moms to spend a good life.