Early Behavior Very Changeable
Will It Never End?
As a child grows up parents often wonder, and sometimes worry what behavior is an indication of a child’s personality and what habits they might form. Fortunately, most toddler behavior is a temporary stage that children pass through on their way to becoming adults.
One little boy is a good example of not judging a person’s character against toddler behavior. This youngster entered his school for the first time a very fearful little person. The one-room schoolhouse must have appeared to this farm raised young man a strange and scary place. He spent his first day never leaving the teacher’s side, and often hiding behind her desk. According to some reports, he also sucked his thumb. The young man in question didn’t remain apprehensive long, and soon become a gregarious young person capable of taking on the world. Lyndon Baines Johnson the 36th president of the United States became a man who faced many challenges in his life, was a master at communication, and despite the fact that as small child he was often fearful of people he developed into a man capable of displaying strength in confrontations.
Fortunately, our behavior isn’t set from out first days when the world is so new for us. Thumb sucking is a common behavior and while for most it ends shortly after infancy, some children will carry the behavior into toddlerhood, and a few will continue beyond this stage. Parents often worry about the social factor in thumb sucking, and if the child will be viewed differently in pre-kindergartner or even nursery school for this behavior. If the child is being singled out, or if the habit is so frequent it could hold him or her back from other activities it will not adversely affect a child if gentle coaching is used to help break the habit.
Observing when the behavior is most likely to occur is a good start to aid the child to break, what is for this little person a life-long habit. For some toddlers and young children the thumb finds its way into the mouth when fatigue sets in, or when they are bored. For others like Mr. Johnson so long ago, it is a signal the child is overwhelmed or fearful. Looking at these moments can help a parent prepare replacements or alternatives for the behavior that reduce the anxiety of change.
It goes without saying that replacing thumb sucking with a pacifier after one or two years of age can backfire quickly. Other methods of replacement can best focus on the cause rather than reaction.
An example of tackling the cause instead of than the behavior is the child who sucks his or her thumb at night might be looking for ways to sooth nerves, calm down and feel, yes…pacified. A nighttime ritual that involves a calming down from the day’s activities like a story or very soft music playing can create an atmosphere where the child will no longer need to self-sooth. It is also true that with this method you are giving the little person an alternative behavior that can be carried on for life, as these methods of inducing sleep can work for anyone. The person who reads before bed could very well have learned this behavior as a small toddler, and for many the routine helps affords them the benefit of being able to sleep anywhere without wakefulness.
Gentle reminders can help a sleepy child lose interest in the thumb as a method of self-soothing work well, as long as they are natural, and will not cause distress especially as a child tries to sleep. Control It! is a good product for this type of transition for the child since the slightly bitter taste isn’t jarring, but will discourage using the thumb.Tweet