Thursday, November 4, 2010

S is for Security

My cherubs this year are a very young bunch with most of them having summer birthdays.
Their young-ness presents itself in a lot of different ways, I have seen some separation issues, and some difficulties with fine motor skills.

But this year, more than any other, I've noticed a lot of thumb sucking. I am a little stumped as to what to do about it.
Since I'm not a dentist, I don't find myself concerned with what it's doing to their teeth, but I am concerned with its social implications.
The other kindergarteners don't seem to have noticed the thumbs, but if it continues into the upper grades they certainly will. Let's face it, kids can be mean to each other sometimes and although we do a lot to curb that, it still happens.

I've been wondering if it's the newness of their kindergarten experience that's bringing it on. Are they scared? Unsure? Am I in any way causing them to want to suck their thumbs in order to feel more secure?

I've been reading up on the subject, and most everything I've read tells me that school-aged kids who suck their thumbs do because it's become a habit. So if that's true, how do I break the thumb habit in school, and how do I suggest to parents that the thumb sucking at home should probably stop as well?

I pulled my little thumbkins over the other day to have a little chat. I explained to them as gently as I could why sucking their thumbs in kindergarten was not a good idea. I explained about germs, and what a big deal it was to be big enough to come to big kid school! I told them that I was ready to help them to not suck their thumbs if they wanted me to. I wanted to make it a choice, just in case it was some sort of security thing. I didn't want to make them feel any less secure than they may have already been feeling.

I told them, that when I noticed their thumbs I would just give them a quick "thumbs up." I knew this would be discreet enough not to call the other kids' attention to what we were doing. I give a lot of thumbs up in my room and this little gesture wouldn't seem out of the ordinary.

In the last few days we've been trying our little strategy, I haven't seen a huge difference in the frequency, but I have noticed that they immediately stop when I give my little sign. I'm hoping with a little consistency we can take care of this without too much drama. I've been giving a lot of positive reinforcement to these two, and just a few extra hugs too, because there is nothing like a good hug to help a person feel just a little more secure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have 4 in my classroom also. What a great way to handle this! I am going to try the thumbs up method too. Thanks for sharing!