Chapped lips

"My 3 1/2 year old daughter sucks her thumb. I really don't mind that, but she's gotten into the habit of rubbing the skin around her mouth. It has become red and chapped. When I put lotion's on, she just wipes them off. Any suggestions."

"Give your daughter a soft piece of fuzz or a cotton ball to rub around her mouth. This will help keep the area from getting chapped until she outgrows this habit."

"My 3 year old has sucked her thumb since birth. But she has also liked silky material (ribbons, etc.). You might try giving her that to rub instead, tell her how soft and pretty it is. A blanket with silk trim works well, too."

"Try buying her own chapstick. They have delicious flavors - or plain if you think she'll lick it off. Let her keep it in her pocket. My 2 1/2 year old does well with it. She could pretend it's lipstick."

"I guess I would try to figure out if it was the mouth or the fingers/thumbs that wanted the touching and try to find a substitution like touching mouth with a blanket or diaper. If it wasn't evident what the motivation was I would touch her gently to move her hand away from her mouth when I saw her doing it. If that didn't work I'd try to keep skin clean and dry and then a dab of lanolin cream or A&D ointment."

"Cuddle her. Perhaps she will find security in your arms. Give her a blanket to suck. Find her toys to keep her hands occupied. Giver her plenty of outdoor time with her playmates."

"Try to find some flavored lip balm (spearmint, peppermint, orange, etc.) - one with a scent your daughter likes. Put some on the chapped area and make a game out of how long she can smell the flavor. Also if you apply the lip balm while she sleeps, it does quite a nice healing job. Drug stores and food co-op's would be places to purchase flavored lip balms."

"My daughter did this too. I know it looks bad and may hurt her but it really didn't take too long for her to stop it on her own and the chapped skin to heal. It almost seemed like the more attention we paid to it, the more she was aware of it and the more she rubbed.

"My daughter has allergies fall, winter and spring which results in runny nose. Our doctor told us some lotions actually can burn or sting chapped skin so she recommended that we use a product called Carmex. Drug stores carry it and most department stores have it near the check out counters. It smells a little but not for very long but it has a soothing feeling (I use it for chapped lips as well) and my daughter would rub some of it off but it's sort of like a vaseline or waxy substance and is very difficult to just rub off. I would just keep applying it frequently throughout the day and especially at night after she falls asleep."

"How about Desitin or Vitamin A & D salve? They both stay on even when rubbed.

"Try some of the thick lotions and creams that can't simply be rubbed off. Also, consult the doctor - does she think your daughter's behavior warrants any special attention? My son had frequent problems with a face rash last winter. Mary Kaye's emollient night cream worked wonders applied at bed time and nap time."

"I don't know if I would do anything. Maybe when the skin around her mouth becomes really tender, she just might stop the rubbing. And you can explain to her again not to rub because it will cause her skin around her mouth to hurt. It is easy to forget that just because a child can walk and talk doesn't mean that they can reason like an adult."

"Let her have he own chapstick to put on by herself. Then she might take care of her chapped skin herself."

"Try Vaseline, it's much harder to rub off."

"Maybe try some `Little Licks' lip balm or some Chapstick that's flavored and made for kids. My daughter loves to play with `lipstick' and be like mom. Buy her `her own' lipstick and play `make up' with her. And you know how kids put lipstick on, it will help moisturize around her mouth, also. Read the Berenstain Bear Book about `Bad Habit' and try a situation/game like they do in the book for the thumb sucking."

"I sympathize with your problem. It's difficult to criticize the behavior of a child that age (especially a security behavior) without increasing their anxiety or feeling of your rejection of them as a person. Whatever you try, reassure her that you love her and care for her and her health, and only don't want her skin to be sore and hurt. Perhaps giving her something to hold (a satiny piece of cloth or other soothing-textured item) when she's thumb-sucking might help. Good luck!"

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