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How can I prevent my child from sucking her finger?

Q: My daughter is 4 years old. She puts the finger of her right hand in her mouth whenever she is alone and touches her left nipple with the other. She does this even while sleeping? Please advise how we can prevent this habit?

A:Your child seems to be suffering from insecurity as this behaviour is an extension of thumb-sucking. Try to reward her by extra attention and hugs when she is not indulging in objectionable behaviour. Try to ignore and do not make her conscious or guilty if she is showing wrong behaviour. Instead try diverting her attention. Make her wear clothes which would make touching her own breast difficult. Please consult a child psychologist for assessment and intervention, if normal efforts at removing the habit do not succeed.

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