This is another of my posts on the Secure Start Facebook page. Let me know what you think!
From the earliest hours of life, infants experience feelings of emotional wellbeing in association with suckling. As a result, a powerful association develops between oral stimulation and feelings of emotional wellbeing. When anxious or overwhelmed, many children stick something in their mouth; be it a finger or thumb or part of their clothing. This provides tangible evidence of the role of oral stimulation in managing stress and restoring feelings of wellbeing. Knowing this presents an opportunity for assisting children in a proactive manner to remain calm in stress-evoking situations and places, such as on the way to a professional appointment or in a busy, crowded and noisy shopping centre. Offering water in a sports bottle, an ice-block or even a lollipop to suck can be an effective way of inoculating your child to stressful places and situations.