Kicking the Bad Habits: Thumb Sucking

If your child is about to start preschool or daycare, it’s time to start breaking some of their bad habits. In this series, we will cover some tactics that will help you kick those bad habits to the curb. Today’s bad habit is thumb and finger sucking.  

During infancy, thumb and finger sucking is a completely normal way for children to soothe and entertain themselves. However, past toddlerhood thumb sucking can become one of the worst habits for your child. Not only can it be the source of teasing around age 5, but it can also leave permanent damage to their jaw shape, teeth, and speech. To nip this bad habit in the bud, try applying the following tips:

Talk it Out

Explain to your child why thumb sucking is a bad habit, such as how it can start making his teeth look funny. Let your child know that when he is ready to stop, you will be there for him.

Set a Limit

To start weaning your child off thumb sucking, you can tell your child that thumb sucking should not be done during the daytime. Limiting thumb sucking to bedtime or naptime is a good way to reduce the amount of thumb sucking your child does on a daily basis.

Praise Good Behavior

For every hour that your child goes without sucking her thumb, you should tell her that you noticed she didn’t suck her thumb and praise her for this good behavior.

Practice Self-Awareness

When you catch your child sucking his thumb, simply ask him ‘Do you know you’re sucking your thumb right now?’ Chances are he will say no because most kids don’t realize when they are sucking their thumbs. By asking him this question every time he sucks his thumb, you are raising his self-awareness.

Replace with Other Activities

You can distract your child from sucking her thumb with a substitute activity, such as a squishy ball or puppets.

Avoid Nagging and Punishing

Nagging or punishing your child and pulling his finger out of his mouth every time you catch him sucking his thumb can backfire on you. This will just make your child want to continue sucking his thumb even more and this will only result in a power struggle.

At Cranium Academy, our goal is to build character and leadership in every student. To provide consistency between school and home life, we work hand-in-hand with parents to help children break their bad habits. If you’re working on kicking the thumb sucking habit, let your child’s teacher know so that we can help you with the process. One less bad habit is one step closer to building good character and being a leader!

More in this series: Hair Pulling, Nose Picking, Nail Biting/Picking

Tips to Keep Your Child Safe While Swimming

Summer is the season for swimming! With all the fun that this recreational sport provides, it’s still important that your child stays safe while swimming. It is always a good idea to sign your child up for swimming lessons which will help them develop into strong swimmers. Here are some tips on other ways to take the proper safety precautions while your child swims this summer:

In Swimming Pools

  • Maintain constant supervision over your child and make sure they swim in areas that are supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Enforce that your child must swim with a buddy at all times.
  • Teach your child to walk slowly in the pool area. Because the area around the pool is usually wet and slippery, accidents are prone to happen if a child is running in this area.
  • If you are at a public pool, always follow pool rules.

In Lakes and Ponds

  • Always swim with your child in lakes and ponds. With these bodies of water, it’s usually difficult to see the bottom, so it’s hard to gauge their actual depth.
  • Make sure your child is wearing protective water shoes. Lakes and ponds have a tendency of hiding dangerous objects like jagged rocks, broken bottles, and trash.
  • If you are going boating, make sure that both you and your child are wearing life jackets.

In Oceans

  • When you first get to the beach, ask the lifeguard how strong the waves are. Stay close to your child if the waves start to get rough.
  • Always make sure your child is swimming in an area where a lifeguard can see him, and in areas that are specifically marked for swimmers to
  • Make sure your child does not swim too far from the shore to avoid getting caught in a rip current.
  • Instruct them not to swim close to piers. If a big wave comes suddenly, it could move them, causing them to hit a piling or a rock.
  • Teach them to face the waves, rather than turning their back to them. This can prevent a wave from knocking them down suddenly.

In general

  • Stay hydrated! Swimming is a sport, after all, and therefore requires a lot of physical effort. It’s important to make sure your child drinks plenty of water regularly.
  • Slather them with sunscreen! Make sure to keep reapplying the sunscreen (with a protection factor of at least 15) throughout the day. The sun is at its peak strength between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, so it’s best to limit the amount of sunlight you and your child receive during this time frame.
  • If your child does not yet know how to swim, make sure that her flotation devices are Coast Guard approved.
  • Don’t allow your child to chew gum or eat while he is swimming, as this poses a choking hazard.

At Cranium Academy, we strive to provide a safe and secure environment where our students have the best opportunity to learn, discover, and grow from preschool through elementary school. Making sure that children stay safe outside the classroom is just as important to us. To give kids a break from swimming over the summer, our summer camp programs offer the perfect combination of learning and fun in a safe, welcoming environment. We make safety a priority so that our students can focus on learning and having fun!