They've done it since they were babies.
But now that they are almost 5 years old (FIVE?!?!) it's not so cute anymore.
Out of six children, my daughters are the only ones that suck their fingers. Some might say it's because I didn't give them a pacifier, but Joshua and the little boys never had pacifiers either. And while Matthew had a pacifier from 2 months old until 8 months old (when I worked and Jason was a SAHD) he dropped it easily and never looked back.
But these girls are just not ready to give up this little habit. Aside from this one odd picture above, the girls always suck the same fingers. For Leila, it's her right index and middle finger and for Sarah, it's her left 3 little fingers. They suck when they're tired, when they're scared, or when they're hurt. And yes, they are weaned. And no, I don't think this has anything to do with how long they nursed. It's just a comfort thing.
But it's time to stop. I have more pictures of my girls with their fingers in their mouths than I can count. I am constantly reminding them not to suck their fingers in public. We've tried to limit it to bedtime only, but even that isn't working. Sarah struggles with it more than Leila. If she's upset, the fingers go in the mouth. And no amount of hand sanitizing can prevent the major ick factor when two 4-year olds touch everything in sight and then suck their fingers. Yuck. In fact, they'll sanitize their hands and then immediately put them in their mouths.
The dentist isn't too concerned yet. She has encouraged a gentle approach and I'm all about gentle parenting and gentle discipline. But I find myself wanting to tape those fingers up to put an end to the sucking! (It wouldn't work. Leila has sucked off half of her fingernail and so I put a Band-Aid on it. She had the Band-Aid off and fingers in her mouth a few minutes later.)
All you wise parents out there... What next? Do I let them outgrow this on their own? Do I reward them for not sucking their fingers? I've promised them that they could have their fingernails painted for the first time once they stop sucking, but that has not worked so far. I hate to push the issue, but I'm not sure what to do. They are definitely more aware of what they're doing now. They have made some effort to stop (wearing gloves has helped a tiny bit) but they just can't help themselves.