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You are here : home > Raising Children > Behavioral Problems > How to Stop my Toddler's Thumb Sucking Habit?

How to Stop my Toddler's Thumb Sucking Habit?

Thumb sucking is a common habit for many toddlers. If you are worried about your toddler’s thumb sucking habit, then here are some ways to stop it.

Thumb sucking can interfere with speech development and lead to speech problems. Some kids just refuse to let go of their thumb sucking habit. They do it during the daytime as well as night time. Parents also find this habit irritating and annoying. These are some ways by which you can help your toddler give up this habit.

Bitter Medication

You can consult your child’s paediatrician or dentist for advice on bitter tasting medicine available to stop thumb sucking habit in toddlers. This medicine or liquid needs to be applied on the child’s finger nails to discourage him from thumb sucking. Some mothers might feel it is cruel and are hesitant to make their child go through this, but this is one of the effective solutions to break the habit. Sometimes, you might even have to reapply the medicine.

Cover the Thumb

Covering the thumb is a good solution to stop the thumb sucking habit. A covered thumb will not feel as tasty or as comforting as a bare thumb. Try covering the thumb with a band aid or something else. Thumb sucking at night is a difficult habit to break. If your child’s thumb sucking habit persists at night as well, then you can keep the thumb covered during the night with a sock or some other thing. To eliminate thumb sucking problem at night, you can also put a glove in the hand. You can continue putting on the glove for a whole week. It has been seen that this method often works quite well.  

Identify Triggers

Try to identify under what circumstances your toddler starts sucking his thumb. Sometimes, they start thumb sucking due to certain stressful situations. Try to pacify your child in other ways such as hugging him or holding him close so that he does not resort to thumb sucking. Find other ways to help your toddler deal with stress.  A child who faces stress and has emotional issues might use thumb sucking as a defense mechanism to cope with stress.

Ask Him to Stop

According to doctors, this is often the simplest way to stop your child from thumb sucking. Tell your child that he is a big boy now and big boys do not do such things. Tell him that you will help him quit this habit. Try coming up with creative ways to stop him from sucking his thumb like telling him, “Do you think Superman or Batman sucks his thumb?”The next time he does it, say something like “Rohit, stop sucking your thumb like a baby.”

Other Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking

Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to stop your child from sucking his thumb. Verbally praise him every time he does not suck his thumb. Give him something nice every time he stops. Monitor his progress and as he goes on improving, give him a prize or reward for encouragement. Distract him with other activities when he starts sucking his thumb. Ask him to play a game with you or do some other activity. Try other substitutes for thumb sucking such as offering him a lollipop, a piece of hard candy or a mint.  

It is important for toddlers to break this habit, because it can severely affect appearance of teeth. Even though toddlers might find thumb sucking very soothing and comforting, it is necessary to break the habit. Thumb sucking habit generally persists till the age of five and if it continues beyond that age it can be harmful because teeth start developing and there can be damage to the teeth. Thumb sucking can cause the skin on the thumb to become dry and get peeled off. So, break this unhealthy habit in your child and make efforts to stop him from sucking his thumb.

What are the causes of thumb sucking in toddlers? How to help a toddler get rid of her thumb sucking habit? Can habit of thumb sucking affect the overall development of a toddler?
Discuss here.

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geeta.4 years ago
Try cotton thumbguards....cost effective and easy solution. can find it on olx/quikr too in India
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