When we should ignore and when to be concerned with toddler habits.
Thumb/finger sucking, hair twirling, head banging are common habits in toddlers. Some are totally harmless (no matter how irritating it is to us as parents) while some call for genuine concerns. Let’s dive in.
This is one of the most commonly complained about habits by parents. When babies discover their parts of the body, they explore and this also involves the thumb, big toe and other fingers. According to Parent.com, experts believe that almost 90 percent of kids do it at some time during their early life. Thumb sucking doesn’t pose health issues neither is it problematic unless it goes on for a long time, beyond the early years. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of thumb-suckers stop by age 6 or 7 months. Most other children give up the habit by age 4 or 5 years. So even if you constantly remind and correct them, they most like will give it up at some point.
However, Thumb sucking becomes a cause for concern for Parents when a kid above the age of 5 shows no interest in stopping. Dentists claim that thumb sucking will affect a child’s palate and teeth and it may also attract negative comments and side looks from peers, friends and family.
Ending this habit
Gentle reminders and positive reinforcement, reward system for when your child goes without sucking for an agreed period of time, and no-biting nail polish work best.
The height of tantrums. Rocking and head banging happens when a toddler is upset and starts hitting the head against a wall, crib, or other surfaces. This is frightening to parents as it can be perceived as a mental, emotional or developmental disorder such as autism. However, it happens in babies without disorder as well. Head banging is most prevalent in babies between 6 and 18 months old. If it continues beyond age 4 consult your child’s pediatrician.
Hair twirling often begins between 3 and 6 years of age. it is a self-soothing action children do subconsciously. Talk to your pediatrician if your child goes beyond hair twirling to pulling out her hair (or eyebrows or eyelashes).
Nail-biting usually develops later than most of the other habits—usually around age 5 or 6. Try distracting your child or keeping her hands busy during times she is likely to bite her nails (while watching TV, for example). Also, keep her nails cut short and wash her hands frequently with antibacterial soap to ward off infection.
What other habits are you worried about? Let’s discuss!
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