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Children - scholastic problems

Q: My daughter is 5 years old. I am worried about 2 things concerning her.
i) She sometimes writes alphabets and numbers as in a mirror image i.e. reversed. She does not do it always but once in a while. Otherwise she is good in school and other activities. What could be the reason for this and what should I do about it. Kindly advise.
ii) She has a habit of sucking her finger. I have tried many things like tying her hand, applying chilli paste/ neem on her finger and even explaining to her that she should stop as she is grown up now. Please advise how we can make her overcome this problem.

A:Writing letters and numbers, reversed, is called Lateral Inversion. It is very common and not a problem at all in children of 4 and 5 years of age. It will settle on its own. Please do not give it another thought. Regarding thumb sucking (or finger sucking) it may start as a self comforting strategy by the child, when she misses her mother, perhaps. Later, it becomes a habit. First of all, please do not use measures like chilly paste! That sounds harsh and could be harmful to the childs digestive system. Neem paste is OK, but from your own admission, it does not work. Children give it up gradually, as other activities are introduced. I know of a little girl, who used to suck her thumb, at night. On her 7th birthday she gave it up fully. Gentle persuasion and approval of her friends would be the best course. Talk to her, listen to her talking, play games with her and read out stories and sing songs together. She will enjoy these things so much, that thumb sucking will be dropped.

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