Starting about a month ago (2 years and a few months old), she is constantly putting her finger or fingers in her mouth. She is not teething. I'm not sure why she's doing it. Trying to discipline her by giving her time outs did not work. Reasoning with her by telling her that she "can get sick if she puts her dirty hands in her mouth" didn't work. Physically removing her hand from her mouth constantly didn't work. Telling her that if she has the urge to put her hands in her mouth she should put her hands on her lap didn't work...

Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Why punish a child for doing this? Mar 12 '14 at 9:14

She's not quite three and still exploring her environment; this is part of that. If it really bothers you, you can gently remove her hand when you catch her with her hand in her mouth, but I wouldn't fret too much. Most kids won't continue this for very long (for example, my nearly 3-yr-old son just got out of this stage about 3-4 weeks ago). If it continues and you are concerned she's going to be sucking on her fingers or thumb and possibly malforming her teeth, then you might want to circle up with a pediatrician or pediatric dentist for strategies.

If you're looking for alternative strategies, WebMD has a pretty good list.

Full disclosure: I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old. Messed up my upper palate something fierce, but my teeth were correctable with a few years of braces.

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