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So how long does it take to form, or change, a habit? A week? A month? A year? At least 2 months (or about 66 days, on average), according to the research.

Jeremy Dean over at PsyBlog wrote a great entry that looked at what the research tells us about how long it takes us to form a new habit. *1

"Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. The researchers noted that a sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are ‘habit-resistant’. Other types of habits may well take much longer."

So 66 days later, a simple habit might be in place and on automatic pilot. But as the research shows, it could as long as 8 and a half months for more complicated habits to take hold.

So what does this mean for thumb sucking? Simply, the longer your child has been doing it, the longer it may take to change the habit.



Just for fun


These gel air fresheners are the perfect project! They take a total of five minutes to make, are highly economical, and each jar should last you about a month. These would also make great gifts.

(Scroll down to the post titled ~~~HOMEMADE AIR FRESHENERS~~~)

Thumbs Out fun - ~~~HOMEMADE AIR FRESHENERS~~~




Thumbs sucking and germs

When we talk about thumb sucking, we forget about the impact of putting germy thumbs, or fingers, into our mouths. British television series, Embarassing Bodies looks at the impact of thumb sucking and the common germs children can be exposed to.


So why is buying Australian made so important?

I can buy a product which appears exactly the same as Thumbs Out and costs less so why would I buy your product?

The first thing you should know is, Thumbs Out thumb guards are designed for Australian children. While the other products may look similar, they are not made with Australian children in mind.

Renowned marketing company, Roy Morgan, found that in excess of two thirds of Australian consumers consciously buy Australian made whenever possible’ or ‘often’. Furthermore, research shows that the Australian consumer wants to buy Australian made. When shoppers make a decision to buy Australian made products, that decision benefits Thumbs Out and our families, the Australian economy, the environment – and you the customer! The ripple effect of a customer purchasing an Australian made product is phenomenal. Firstly, it boosts the local and national Australian economy by injecting money into it. When a sale is made it is then paid back out to the local and national communities through wages for staff, who in turn spend their money in their local community. Perhaps the most obvious reason to buy Australian made is to create jobs. Thumbs Out employs people in your local area because we choose to manufacture our products onshore. Were the products to be made overseas these locals would be out of jobs, contributing to the level of unemployment.

Why buying Australian made is so important.

It would be far cheaper for us as a business to manufacture overseas, but we have made a conscious choice to keep our product in our country. Beware of business’ who use “Australia” in their business name. You may in fact find they are running from another country entirely and are certainly not contributing to our country and this means the money is being sent overseas. Additionally, taxes on goods (GST), tax on wages, all business related taxes and registration fees are paid to the Australian Government and put back into our community as infrastructure, welfare and the general maintenance and running of this remarkable country.

From an environmental perspective, buying locally produced goods reduces the carbon footprint involved with transporting goods over large distances and overseas, therefore having a positive impact on global warming. Our products are made in Moorabbin, Melbourne. So if you live in Melbourne your carbon footprint is even less! So, there are multiple benefits to the Australian community as a whole whenever someone makes the decision to purchase a Thumbs Out product.

But what do you as a customer get? Buying an Australian made Thumbs Out thumb guard means that you enjoy a much higher quality product and a high construction quality. Goods are made here in Australia specifically for our Australian children. They are made with the highest quality materials and workmanship. Thumbs Out takes pride in the quality of every step of the manufacturing process and the result is a product that is less fuss, more durable and more practical than cheap and inferior imported goods.

You should feel good about your decision to buy a proudly Australian made product!



Ways to stop thumb sucking

Thumbs Out thumb guards are one way to stop thumb sucking. This YouTube clip shows another.

Meet 3.6 year old Rawan.


Something has always come between boyfriends and me. A pernicious love, an addiction that - had it been apparent at our first meeting - would have put some off having any relationship with me at all. It does not involve anything illegal or dangerous, but it’s probably more socially unacceptable - and definitely far from sexy. Until the age of 31, I sucked my thumb.

Was I a freak? Not according to the figures; one in ten adults admits to still sucking their thumb or fingers, according to a survey last year - among them the singer Rihanna, if the picture here is anything to go by.

Rihanna still sucks her thumb

My thumb-sucking was never done in public - very few people knew about it, not even my friends, family or colleagues. I kept my terrible secret under wraps.

By day, as editor of this newspaper’s fashion section, I stride about in today’s version of the power suit - designer dress, high-heeled shoes, good highlights and red lipstick.

And by night  . . . well, no one could have guessed the horrible truth.

The habit didn’t come out when relaxing on the sofa at home, as I knew it was unattractive for a successful twentysomething woman to do something so babyish.

But come bedtime, thumb-sucking was a reflex. Psychologists say the habit is a comforting gesture that mimics the feelings gained from breastfeeding as a baby, sending a rush of endorphins to the brain.

I don’t know about that, but just as some people associate alcohol with smoking or tea with biscuits, for me snuggling under the duvet meant sucking my thumb.

Then, some months ago, something happened. While out to dinner, a friend exclaimed: ‘Oh, Nicole! Your teeth are wonky in the same way as mine. Did you suck your thumb into your teens?’

I was mortified. I’d just managed to give up thumb-sucking by religiously bandaging my thumb to my finger with Micropore surgical tape every night for weeks (though I still had longings for it).

But I wondered how many other people had been secretly thinking I had bad teeth.

I never really thought anyone could notice my teeth were crowded and crooked at the bottom. The top set look OK — they’re straight-ish and nice and white, albeit a tiny bit goofy when I smile.

My bite, however, is another story. My upper and lower sets of teeth have never matched up. I can’t eat sandwiches with lettuce in, as my top and bottom teeth never met at the front and it would result in an ugly food-over-face mess.

Thumb-sucking, it seems, has been bad for my image and bad for my dental health. By squashing my lower teeth together, I’d created the ideal breeding ground for bacteria — crowded teeth are harder to clean and more susceptible to decay.

So, I decided to visit the London Smile Clinic, where I saw specialist orthodontist Dr Preet Bhogal. Preet immediately ruled out a quick fix, such as wearing a removable gumshield-style appliance for a few months. This would be too simplistic for a reformed thumb-sucker.

He ran me through my options, which revolved around wearing fixed braces for 18 months (though some people get away with just three to six months) and also having up to three teeth removed. I was shocked.

‘Thumb sucking is a wholly negative activity for your teeth and jaws,’ Preet told me.

‘The thumb rests on the lower teeth, tilting them backwards, while proclining the top teeth forwards from behind.

‘The sucking exerts a negative pressure inside your mouth, narrowing the upper set of teeth and giving you an asymmetrical bite.’

Hearing this makes me feel decidedly strange. But it appears I’m one of the lucky ones — some people have to undergo jaw surgery to reverse the damage of thumb-sucking.

Preet explained he will not treat anyone who hasn’t kicked the habit, as the two opposing forces of thumb-sucking and a brace can damage the roots of the teeth and even cause them to become loose.

Once he has gone through this, Preet outlines my choices. The cheapest is silver train tracks, but I’m a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding soon, so I decline this.

He then suggests the ‘incognito’ brace, custom made and bonded onto the back of your teeth.

‘No one will know you’re wearing it,’ he says.

There is, of course, a price for my vanity — an eye-watering £6,000 to £12,000, depending on how much work I need. Though it sounded like the ideal solution, I decided to think seriously about how much my teeth bother me.

Over the next few days, one thing Preet said stuck in my mind  . . . that if I didn’t do something about my crowded lower teeth now, they would only get worse as I age.

‘Teeth move slowly forward towards the front of the mouth, it’s a natural ageing process — which is why many people’s teeth appear to become more crowded as they get older,’ he said.

While my teeth don’t particularly bother me now, I certainly wouldn’t want them to get any worse. So after much deliberation, I decided to go through with it.

It looks as if it’s going to be a lengthy — and interesting road — to perfect teeth, but one that I think is going to be worth taking.

And, in the meantime, I will not be seeking solace in thumb-sucking.


Fun ways to help your kids learn their address

Do your kids know what their address is? Or even their last name? Planning With Kids has some good ideas to help small people learn this important information.

Recently someone asked our youngest child what his name was, he responded with his first name. They then asked him what his other name was and he quickly responded with the nickname his siblings call him.

Pressed further for what his full name was, it was evident he didn’t know his surname!  So over the holidays we will undertake a few simple activities to help him identify with his full name, know his address and phone number.


Fun ways to help kids learn their address

Name and address poster

I did this with the other children, so am not sure why I forgot to do it with the little one!  We will write up and print out an A4 sign which includes his name, address and phone number.  It will then be stuck on the fridge and when he is the kitchen keeping me company as I cook (which is often) I will refer to it and get him to look and point at the different words on the sign.

Putting the address into context

It is easy enough to have a child rote learn their address, but do they really understand what it means?  On a walk, we will take out our address sign and point out what all this information means:

- We will look at the number on the letterbox and see how it matches the number on our sign.

- We will read the street sign and see how the letters are the same as we have on our piece of paper.

- Walking about as we see the name of our suburb, we will point that out and match it up to our sign too.

- When we return home, we will then look at a map and show how our suburb sits in the state of Victoria and the country of Australia.

Writing a letter to ourselves

We are going away for awhile in the holidays, so while we are away, I will take the opportunity to send ourselves a postcard.  I will have a copy of our sign so he can see me transferring the address details to the postcard and explain how all this information lets the postman know where to take our postcard.  He will then know it will make its way from the top of our state of Victoria to the bottom using the address and will be waiting for us when we get home.

Calling Dad

Mr I will not be with us for all of our time away, so we can use this opportunity to call our home phone number to show him how these specific numbers mean he can call our house.  He can press the buttons (which he will love) and tell his dad all about the fun he is having on holidays.

Using his full name

Kids pick up things very quickly, so it will be just a matter of me using his full name at different points through out the week, pointing it out on the sign and the postcard when he gets to read it and he will hopefully begin to identify with his full name.


"M" IS FOR MONKEYBARS: Getting Ready for Writing

written by Cheryl McCarthy (movingsmartblog.blogspot.com.au)

A child's hand is a powerful tool for learning. With his hands he can control the world around him, build and create all that he can imagine, and express himself, first in gestures, then with scribbles, and eventually, with the written
word. Parents know the importance of fine motor control -- especially when it comes to handwriting -- which is probably why I'm frequently asked for advice on this subject. Here's what I say...

Put your pencils down and go play on the monkeybars.


Children's muscle control and coordination is developed in a natural, orderly way -- from the top down and from the inside out -- starting at the head and working towards the toes while building out from the torso to the limbs. This order of priority, established by the brain, insures that the large muscles necessary for coordination and locomotion (getting from here to there) are well organized and in control, before taking on the complex mastery of the more than 60 combined muscles in the hands (let alone the dozens of bones, hundreds of ligaments and tendons, etc., etc.)

So you see, on the developmental totem pole, the hands come last.


Now, that doesn't mean that your child's hands aren't active as he's growing. Young hands begin with simple, reflexive, whole-hand grasping. Over time, early reflexes integrate and the pincer grip kicks in, allowing him to use his forefinger and thumb together in unison. Each day, you'll see more and more deliberate hand and finger movements. But that's not fine motor skills -- not yet.

Fine Motor Skills are the highly precise motor control necessary to bring all five fingers together to do detailed work requiring minute, almost imperceptible movements, such as using a pencil to write your name.

But writing your name isn't all in the wrist, so to speak. In fact, it involves much of the whole body...


1.    The upper body must be strong enough to hold the body in an upright standing or sitting position.

2.    The shoulders muscles must be strong enough to control the weight of the arm, and flexible enough to rotate freely to position the arm for writing.

3.    The upper arm holds the weight of the lower arm and hand, delivering the hand to the page.

4.    The lower arm provides a sturdy fulcrum on which the wrist rotates.

5.    The wrist holds the hand steady and rotates to the appropriate position.

6.    The fingers fold around the pencil which is held in place by the thumb.

7.    Together, all five fingers do a precision dance on the page: a. placing the pencil at the exact angle to meet the page, b. pressing down and maintaining the right amount of pressure to leave the imprint, and c. coordinating the tiny up, down, left, and right movements across the page.

If any of those muscles in that chain of events don't do their job, writing his name will be a very hard thing to do.

Which brings us full circle back to the monkeybars...


Climbing, hanging, swinging, and any other high-energy activities that build strength in his upper body and core muscles are vital precursors to fine motor skills.

Twisting, turning, dangling, and swinging helps develop the flexibility and agility necessary for rotating the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

Pushing, pulling, tugging, and lifting himself up builds strength while developing an intuitive understanding of simple physics such as weight, pressure, and resistance.

And when he comes off the monkeybars, messy play is ideal for building up strength and dexterity in the hand muscles. Play-Doh, sand and water play, mud (yes, mud!), and any other tactile play is great sensory experience for the brain and hands which one day may mean neater handwriting!

So remember. When it comes to getting ready for writing, "M" is for Monkeybars!

Sometimes, it's just not possible to make it over to the playground for a turn on the monkeybars, so here are a couple of my favorites you can do at home to build upper body and core strength while the hands "wait their turn" in the developmental chain of


Wheelbarrowing around the playroom or out in the backyard is great for building up arm strength (in between the giggling, of course.)  Importantly, I recommend holding your child at the hips rather than by the feet. This prevents an unnatural bow in the back, while lightening the load on those little arms.



Kids love this and you'll be amazed how far they can go with a little practice. Sit on the floor and raise up your seat using your hands and feet. Then crab - crab - crab along as far as you can go. Have kids go forwards and backwards too!

See how slow you can go, inching along like a caterpillar! Walk your hands out in front of you, then walk your feet up to your hands.



10 Things *Not* to Do to Help Your Child Eat10 Things *Not* to Do to Help Your Child Eat

If you have had food issues with your small people Emily Bartnikowski from Natural Parents Network has written a great blog about this issue.

There’s a lot of talk these days about how to get your kids to eat. There are many manuals and memoirs (some of them quite interesting) about what people do - rules, regulations, dietary restrictions . . . in some cases baby boot camps where they force feed your child (who is strapped into a high chair until the food is all gone – I wish I was making that up).

But really, it’s all about approach and finesse and what not to do.

With that in mind, here are ten things that you need to give up before your child will come around to the foodie way of doing things.

1. Assuming the “High Chair Face” means what you think it means. Keep this in mind: 3 Bites to actually taste. 10 servings to actually enjoy. All tastes are acquired…except breast milk and chocolate.

2. Deciding that your child isn’t getting anything out of prep when they choose not to eat it anyway. We’ve all been there – the kid has a special knife and they’ve got a cute apron and a mini-me prep bowl and a mini-me cutting board and they’ve diced and seasoned and stirred! You plate, you serve . . . your forehead hits the table as your child very calmly says “don’t like that” and then requests cheddar bunnies. The solution is not removing child from food prep. The solution is not prepping cheddar bunnies and dino bites and stick cheese with a side of milk. The solution is keeping on and making a huge deal to anyone who hadn’t witnessed it that your child cooked and your child is awesome. Do this in front of your child – then invite a taste. But do not push the eating.

Actual conversation in my house

Me: “Hey, Little Dude, why don’t you taste that artichoke leaf? It’s in the lemon butter you helped make!”

Baz: “Um . . . I don’t think so.”

Me: “Just a lick, it’s pretty tasty.”

Baz licks: “Hey, that’s pretty good.”

Me: “I know! Do you want some more?”

Baz: “Um . . . no.”

No sweat. More for me. Two nights later he ate 4 leaves. Progress is progress.

3. Making Food Fuel – food is more than fuel – it is all-encompassing. If stopping for meals is a chore for you, it will be a chore for your child. If it is purely a gas-n-go situation, it will be so for your child. Do whatever you need to do to make at least one meal a day (or as often as your can manage) feel like you’re on a well-deserved break. Bring out the good cheese and the good bread and the good beverages – even if it’s take out pizza, make it the BEST take out pizza you can afford and serve it on plates with napkins and sit at the table (or have a picnic, better still) and really savor the flavor and the feeling of recharging. Talk about your day and talk about the food. Share a favorite pizza memory. Like that time you played truth or dare and someone dared you to put strawberry on your Build It Yourself Pizza – “with tomato sauce or it’s too easy” – and how now it’s one of your favorite unexpected flavors. Particularly with pineapple. See what your family shares. Make a memory. The best memories involve food in some way, don’t they?

4. Getting emotional about what your child is not eating. Think about all the foods you do not care for. Now imagine that your plate is loaded with them and someone whom you usually respect and enjoy is flipping out at you to just eat your food already! Regardless of how you react, that situation is unpleasant for everyone. Encourage tasting. Encourage actual ingesting. And if they choose not to eat, they choose to be very hungry for their next meal (or snack). Perhaps not caring so much whether every single pea is ingested will do everyone some good.

5. Sticking to the kid’s menu, which is a $5 plate of mac-n-cheese that is likely the same thing in the box in your pantry. Spring for the good stuff – at least you’ll like the leftovers. The downside for this is when you do and your kid loves it. Then even your own plate is in danger. That masago to the right there? That came off of my hamachi roll. Mine. Baz just loves his Fun Popping Balls. (Hey just because it’s not on the kid’s menu doesn’t mean it can’t have a kid’s name.)10 Things *Not* to Do to Help Your Child Eat - a Thumbs Out article

6. Not growing anything. Food shouldn’t be foreign. Your child should see the progression from seed to table. The “brown thumb,” “no space,” and “no time” arguments are all valid, but can all be trumped with this card: food is science and science is experimenting.

Use Pinterest and the good ol’ fashioned library for small space gardening solutions (They’re there. Trust me). Contact local homeschool groups or garden clubs or science teachers and ask about what can grow inside and in containers. Potatoes in a sack by your front door? Sure! Green onions in a vase by your sink? Yes! Sun + air + soil + water + seed = food. Grow some.

7. Never having sweets/carbs/junk food. Life is to short to skip dessert every night.

8. Bribing/threatening – you ratchet up emotion, you make something other than the full belly and happy taste buds the reward. Food is its own reward. Also – think about the precedent this sets: do you really want a kid who’s behaving out of either a fear of punishment or a sense of entitlement? Neither do I.

9. Placing limits or enforcing a clean plate – then it’s about willpower and not about the food. Also, see above re: fear/entitlement. Furthering this: serving your kid. Family style is where it’s at. Fine motor skills, portion control, a bit of adventure . . . let your child take control and determine how much he thinks his stomach can hold. It might just be the tiny step he needs to join you at the table.

10. Worrying that a missed meal is akin to starvation. I will give you two things to remember when it comes to a few refused meals:

- when your child is a teenager, you will wonder how you ever worried about how little he ate; and

- toddlers are like snakes: they exist on air for a week, ingest a whole mouse and spend a week digesting it, exist on air, eat an entire mouse . . . you get the picture.

Tomorrow is a new day with new food and better attitudes. Embrace the newness because this time, your child won’t just lick that strawberry, he’ll bite it.



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Calling all Professionals

Do you work with children and see many who need a bit of extra help to stop thumb sucking? You might be a Dentist, a Speech Pathologist, an Orofacial Myologist, an Orthodontist, a Paediatric Dentist or any number of other professionals who deal with children. If so, we have “Professional Only” rates. 

For more information or to have an account set up, please contact us.

Professionals Only

Thumbs Out Professionals


Chat with Thumbs Out online.

Live Chat!

We have Live Chat now at Thumbs Out. Got a question? Want to tell us something? Need to talk to someone? Live chat is the way to go.

Just look for the image which usually on the left hand bottom corner.

Of course, we might not be around 24/7, so if it's 3am and you're desperate to ask something you can leave us an offline message, or email us.


Babyology writes about Thumbs Out

Read the article written by Babyology, the online market leader in high-quality product-focused editorial content for Australian parents.

Get a handle on thumb sucking with Thumbs Out


Babyology writes about Thumbs Out



Thumb sucking in babies

If your newborn is sucking her thumb, don't worry. Here's why you can give thumb sucking a thumbs-up (for now!)

For some new babies, the thrill of “open mouth, insert thumb” begins within weeks of birth. For others, thumb sucking is a continuation of a habit perfected well before they were born — and the proof is in those adorable ultrasound pics! But whether your little one started thumb sucking in utero or acquired a taste for her thumb soon after birth, it’s hard not to worry that a fondness for thumb sucking now means that your child will still be sucking it in middle school — or that you’ll be pulling your hair out when you get the giant bill for the orthodontic work she’ll need.

Thumbs Out AustraliaBut don’t pull the plug just yet. It’s perfectly natural for newborns to give thumb sucking a big thumbs-up. Here’s why:

Babies are born to suck. Sucking is an inborn reflex for babies because it’s how they eat. So it’s definitely a good thing that your baby has figured it out.

Sucking calms your baby down. Even when you’ve just finished feeding your baby, she might still clamour for more sucking action. That doesn’t mean she’s ready to chow down again. In addition to suckling to fill their tummies, babies need “nonnutritive” sucking, the kind that mellows them out. It’s the whole reason we have dummies in the first place — sucking helps a baby calm down. Some babies, like your own little thumb sucker, love nonnutritive sucking more than others.

Thumbs are always at hand. There’s a reason your baby’s already going to town on her thumb: Like Mount Everest, it was there. Of course, the first few episodes were probably just accidental taste tests, but when your baby figured out how comforting her thumb was, she soon found out how to get it in her mouth on purpose.

So why not pull the old switcheroo and get your baby to suck on a dummy instead? Well, you could, if the thumb sucking really bothers you. And as a bonus, you have more control over when and where your baby uses a dummy, which makes it easier to take it away in the end. Something else to consider: Studies show that using a dummy while sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS.

But there are also some advantages to a thumb sucking baby: With her thumb at her side (literally), your newborn has a built-in way to calm herself down any time she’s feeling cranky, with no help from Mum or Dad required. Even better — you’ll never have to dive under your baby’s cot in the middle of the night looking for a lost dummy. Thumbs don’t get lost (thankfully!).

A good rule of thumb (no pun intended) if your baby continues to uses her thumb or a dummy for the long-term is, as your child grows, too much of either can disturb the alignment of your child’s teeth and even the structure of her mouth, so you’ll definitely want to wean her off before her permanent front teeth come in, around age six. Most kids stop thumb sucking on their own by the time they’re four (usually because their preschool classmates tell them it’s babyish). You can help that process along while your child is still a toddler by offering other comfort objects (like a beloved stuffed animal) when she reaches for her thumb.

But for the time being, you can let your happy little sucker suck to her heart’s content (and be glad she’s found such a handy way to soothe herself).

Edited Article from http://www.whattoexpect.com


Praise VS Encouragement

This is a really great article about praise vs encouragement by Michael Gross (No.1 parenting educator and expert in raising kids to thrive in a thoroughly modern world). Giving up thumb sucking is tough and needs a bit of both of these.

Praise vs Encouragement - a Thumbs Out articlehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lskyQkLGIbM&feature=youtu.be&a



Product SafetyThumbs Out Product Safety

Apart from providing you with a product which will help your child give up thumb sucking, it is very important to us at Thumbs Out Australia that your child is safe using our products. That's why Thumbs Out is made in Australia by a local manufacturer using a soft, opaque, non-toxic durable plastic material which is non-DEHP, non-phthalate plasticizer and BPA free. These compounds are ideally suited for the manufacture of infant products, food and beverage applications and medical devices, where the presence of phthalates is undesirable.

Product Safety Australia

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is an independent statutory authority formed to administer the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974), with responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Commonwealth's competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws, including as they apply to the communications industry.

Thumbs Out Product SafetyConsumers have a right to expect that products they buy work properly without intolerable risk of illness or injury. Consumer product safety regulators monitor the safety of existing and new products on the market. Product Safety Australia with Thumbs out Australia

Most consumer products are safe when used appropriately.

Bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products (there is no BPA in Thumbs Out products)

Plastic children's items with more than 1% DEHP (there less that 1% DEHP in Thumbs Out products)

Phthalates in consumer products (there are no Phthalates in Thumbs Out products)

Note: Wristbands and stickers are not made in Australia.