How To Stop Thumb Sucking Habit In Kids How To Stop Thumb Sucking Habit In Kids
As any parent knows the discussion of thumb sucking is a highly debated issue. No one expert can agree when is the right time... How To Stop Thumb Sucking Habit In Kids

As any parent knows the discussion of thumb sucking is a highly debated issue. No one expert can agree when is the right time to break the habit, why some children are more attached to thumb sucking then others, or even the exact steps to take to curb the habit. Much as it is with parenting; a lot of what you do has to be felt out and decided is this right for me and my child.

First know that thumb sucking is a natural occurrence. There are many sonograms taken each year that show children even in the womb sucking their thumb. Why this is doctors are not 100% sure. Yes sucking is a needed response for young children since they will need to use that instinct to feed but many children continue to suck their thumbs far past being weaned. Many doctors feel this is a soothing technique that children may use to calm themselves and reduce anxiety.

Knowing that thumb sucking is a natural occurrence in children does not stop the fact that it can have damaging effect on a child’s oral health. Damage to the jaw line, overbites, cross bites and shifted teeth can all be consequences of a child who engages in thumb sucking. What can you as a parent do to help your child overcome this habit and safeguard their oral health and growth?


Talk to your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist. Voice your concerns and take their advice into consideration. They can assess the age and development of your child and give you a general guide line of what steps you can take to start easing your child into a world without thumb sucking. Most pediatricians feel that thumb sucking up until age 2 or 3 is normal.

If you decide that it is indeed time to move your child away from thumb sucking here is a list of options available to you that can make the process easier for you.

1. Talk To Your Child About The Thumb Sucking

Children, even young children can understand acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Start by explaining that they are growing up and that although thumb sucking was exactable for them before it is now time to give it up. Point out that some of their favorite TV characters such as Dora or Elmo don’t suck their thumbs. Tell them that you understand that they are used to sucking their thumb but now you will start helping them to remember not to do it. This alone with some consistent reminders may be enough to break the habit.

2. Identify When The Habit Most Often Occurs

Does your child suck their thumb only at night or at nap time, when they argue with a sibling or is it an all-day habit? Knowing when your child is prone to thumb sucking can help you to better determine what approach to take to help them break the habit. If your child only sucks their thumb at sleep times perhaps you can offer them an alternative. Take them to the store and let them pick a special stuffed toy or extra soft blanket. Let them know that this special item is going to replace their thumb sucking habit. This way they feel like they are more in control of their environment and that they get some say in changing their habit.

3. Purchase Some Habit Breaking Aids

thumbguardThere are a slew of products available to parents to help them through this struggle. One of the more popular product that has successfully discourage nail biting and thumb sucking in both kids and adults is Mavala Stop which make the thumb taste bitter and bad when sucked upon. For parents who do not want to have any bitter or foul tasting liquid paint on their child thumb, can try other aids such as the ThumbGuard approach. It uses a soft, flexible, non-toxic plastic tube to block direct access to their thumbs and break the pleasure of suction, thus breaking the habit.

4. Consistency Is Key

Remember consistency is key in breaking any bad habit and thumb sucking is no different. You can’t expect your child to give it up overnight and you as the parent will have to be watchful and diligent in reminding your child about what is expected of them. Don’t just remind them to stop sucking their thumb when you catch them in the act remember to also praise them when you notice they are not sucking their thumb. This is especially important when you notice they skipped a key time for them, for example if they didn’t suck their thumb to fall asleep or after they had an argument with a friend over a toy. Tell them how proud you are of them and this will encourage more of the same behavior.

For anyone who has ever had a habit to break we all know that it takes time and patience, helping our children to break a habit is no different. Just remember that any frustration you feel your child feels as well so try to remain calm and supportive and before you know it your child’s thumb sucking will be a thing of the past.

Henry Okafor

  • AuJanae

    October 19, 2016 #1 Author

    Thumb sucking is a comfort used to soothe infants. When teeth begin to develop, began slowly weening them off with a replacement comforter.

    Reply

  • Chasity

    October 19, 2016 #2 Author

    My baby is 2 months old and hasn’t started the thumb sucking habit . Thank god.. When she was in the womb, we never caught her thumb sucking on any ultrasounds .. I’m glad she hasn’t started that and I hope she never does .. Only because I don’t want her putting her hands in her mouth .. Babies touch on everything and I don’t want her to catch any germs

    Reply

  • Asia Benson

    October 19, 2016 #3 Author

    Sucking thumb is very comfortable for babies. But will not be good when teeth start to come in

    Reply

  • Jaron

    October 19, 2016 #4 Author

    Very nice I will try it one day

    Reply

  • Jaron

    October 19, 2016 #5 Author

    Very nice

    Reply

  • Asia Benson

    October 19, 2016 #6 Author

    Sucking thumb is very comfortable but will be bad on the teeth when it’s time for them to come in

    Reply

  • Asia Benson

    October 19, 2016 #7 Author

    Thumb sucking for the infants is so comfortable. But can be bad on the teeth when it’s time for them to come in

    Reply

  • Annamarie Reyes

    October 19, 2016 #8 Author

    My son always does it and it helps

    Reply

  • Asia Benson

    October 19, 2016 #9 Author

    Thumb sucking is just a habit that someone have picked up it’s not good for baby teeth though can cause a Gap

    Reply

  • Gwen Thompson

    October 20, 2016 #10 Author

    I have two girls ages 2 and 4 and they both have been sucking their thumbs since birth I try to catch them and tell them to take it out of their mouth but as soon as they see me not paying attention they put it right back in their mouth so I will try the nail polish to see if it works because they are now starting to get a over bite because of thumb sucking.

    Reply

  • Mia Mosley

    October 20, 2016 #11 Author

    My son tried to suck his thumb when I had him, I’m like nope not on my watch! 🙂

    Reply

  • Tina Moore

    October 20, 2016 #12 Author

    My son is now ten years old and he sucks his thumb and I have tried everything to get home to stop. Lol

    Reply

  • Denequa Glenn

    October 20, 2016 #13 Author

    My baby is 2 months and she sucked her thumb a little when she was 1 month but now she has stopped all together I thought it was so cute 😔😍😍

    Reply

  • Dayanna Flores

    October 20, 2016 #14 Author

    My baby is 4 moths and she calmer when she suck her thumb

    Reply

  • Keithmarie

    October 20, 2016 #15 Author

    Replace with a pacifier it’s not really the same thing. The finger can become a habit for life a pacifier can be token away

    Reply

  • Chelsea

    October 20, 2016 #16 Author

    My son likes to suck his pointer & middle finger all the time is this like the same equivalency to sucking your thumb ? Anyone else can relate?

    Reply

  • Qua Williams

    October 20, 2016 #17 Author

    My 6month old son will not take the pacifier, only the thumb. I know its very comforting to him but I also know its not great for the teeth!

    Reply

  • Malyka

    October 20, 2016 #18 Author

    My sister has been hooked on it for months now

    Reply

  • Alexia Nelson

    October 20, 2016 #19 Author

    My cousin loves sucking his thumb, what his mother did was to put Pepper on it. I know it’s cruel but it worked

    Reply

  • Shannon

    October 20, 2016 #20 Author

    Great advice

    Reply

  • Jj

    October 20, 2016 #21 Author

    My oldest is 10 he is still sucking his fingers and my daughter is 10 months and don’t think about her fingers I sucked mines until I was 16 it’s so comforting

    Reply

  • Taylor J.

    October 21, 2016 #22 Author

    My daughter came out of the womb sucking her thumb SO loud! The nurses loved her!

    Reply

  • Shaquilla Brinson

    October 21, 2016 #23 Author

    My daughter sucks her pointer finger and middle finger. She has been sucking them since birth and is now 5 years old. I have tried so many different methods but they only last temporarily and she is right back to it.

    Reply

  • Kayla

    October 21, 2016 #24 Author

    I’m so happy my son hasn’t started this yet!

    Reply

  • Nickie

    October 21, 2016 #25 Author

    In the south we put hot sauce on their thumbs

    Reply

  • alexis

    October 21, 2016 #26 Author

    My daughter still suck her thumb

    Reply

  • Carletta

    October 21, 2016 #27 Author

    I have tried different things to get my daughter to stop sucking her fingers and nothing worked for her.

    Reply

  • Brionie

    October 21, 2016 #28 Author

    My 6 weeks old just figured out how to suck her fingers. Being a first time mom I cried lol

    Reply

  • Lindsey

    October 21, 2016 #29 Author

    My baby is 14 months I was trying to take her pacifier at 1 urs old an wen I did she has pick up another habbit.

    Reply

  • Tanya Miller

    October 22, 2016 #30 Author

    this worked for me

    Reply

  • VINOLIA amedorme

    October 22, 2016 #31 Author

    How will I stop lip sucking in my 4 years old child

    Reply

  • Betty

    October 22, 2016 #32 Author

    Very helpful article

    Reply

  • Meya

    October 23, 2016 #33 Author

    My son still suck his thumb and he 3. I try putting hot sauce on but nothing see to be working

    Reply

  • Maris

    October 23, 2016 #34 Author

    I like this article . Am going to try the technic on my daughter that thumb suck.

    Reply

  • Tayla Gould

    October 23, 2016 #35 Author

    Where can you purchase the habit breaking aides?

    Reply

  • Nakayima Annet

    October 24, 2016 #36 Author

    annetnakayima256@gmail.com

    Reply

  • Nakayima Annet

    October 24, 2016 #37 Author

    my baby is 5 months but she sucks her palm instead of thumb

    Reply

  • Latrice

    October 24, 2016 #38 Author

    My mom put hot sauce on my thumb for me- it took a couple of times but it worked!!

    Reply

  • Victor Johnson

    October 26, 2016 #39 Author

    My daughter is 7 months old and just recently started sucking her thumb.. could it be because she is starting to get more teeth? They don’t seem to be bothering her too much but I’m not sure.

    Reply

  • Abiodun Obadina

    November 2, 2016 #40 Author

    My baby girl is just 8 months old and i noticed she only and often thumb suck when at sleep or about to.

    Reply

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