How to Stop Sucking Thumb

How to Stop Sucking Thumb
Last Updated: 21 January 2020

Are you one of those parents who are anxious about their child’s thumb-sucking? Are you looking for some easy ways to stop the sucking habit of your kid? Then go ahead and read on. There is no point in telling a baby to end this practice because it requires more effort from you to break the habit. You, as a parent, can make your baby stop doing it only with a lot of patience and understanding.

Why Do Kids Suck Their Thumbs?

Many parents find it cute when they see their babies with a finger in their mouth. Some even encourage their toddlers by laughing or admiring. Sometimes they allow it to happen because it stops a child from crying or helps the child in falling to sleep. There is a big difference between a baby’s sucking thumb and a 4-year-old doing it. Let us tell you some reasons why kids suck their thumbs.

baby sucking thumb
  • Reflex action:

    human babies are born with a reflex, which makes them root around and suck at things. Fingers and thumbs and even toes are easy to reach for a baby.
  • Comfort:

    sucking action gives a lot of comfort to a baby. Sucking their thumbs has a calming and soothing effect on the baby.
  • Boredom:

    babies, if left to their own without any stimulation and communication, can resort to thumb sucking as a way to entertain themselves.
  • Stress:

    Any pressure like hunger, sickness, tiredness, boredom, or any upsets of any kind can make a kid suck on thumbs.
  • Sleep:

    babies fall to sleep more easily and without much fuss when they are sucking thumbs. It makes them comfortable and probably is a reminder of their time in their mother’s womb.
sucks finger

Why Is Thumb Sucking Bad?

How concerned should you be as a parent about this habit of your child? If it is a 3-month baby putting fingers in the mouth, then it is perfectly all right, and there is no need to worry about it. However, if your child is older, then, it is better to help him/her and show that it is not a good habit. It will surprise you to hear that there are benefits of thumbsucking. However, these benefits are minimal when compared with problems this habit may lead to. More or less, children, on their own get out of this habit by the time they are about 2 years old. They get stimulated by other things around them and don’t need the comfort or familiarity of their thumbs. When your child sucks thumb at 3 and 4 or even beyond that, then you should look at the following points and see how it can be harmful to your child.

  • Speech problems:

    in some cases, this habit can cause a lisp or some speech disorder. This happens because the jawbones reposition by the sucking movement.
  • Germs:

    it is so easy for viruses to reach your child’s body from a thumb, it can cause an upset stomach.
  • Skin problems:

    children who suck their thumbs for years may experience serious skin problems on their preferred thumb. The skin is consistently moist, becomes vulnerable to other infections and injuries. In some rare cases, the skin may even crack or bleed.
baby thumb guard
  • Mouth:

    the roof of the mouth becomes more sensitive with constant sucking and can play havoc with taste buds, healthy eating, and chewing processes.
  • Social Issues:

    it is prevalent for other kids to make fun of your child if they see him/her sucking a thumb in public. The older your child gets, the harsher will judgment be from everyone around. It can make your child shy and less confident.
  • Psychological effects:

    since thumb-sucking gives a false sense of security, your child may become overly dependent on it. Even if he/she grows out of it, the child may always look for this comfort in things around him/her.

Some Easy Ways to Stop Thumb-Sucking

So, let’s get to know how to stop thumb sucking. Remember that if your child is over 3 years old and still sucking thumbs, then it is time for you to intervene. Nowadays, stop doing it is not the same task as it was earlier. There was a time when parents used a firm hand and strict actions to control this habit. Now we all know that a firm grip is good but only with positive reinforcements and care. How long does it take to break a habit? You will have to find the answer by understanding your child. First, you must observe if your baby sucks fingers regularly. When you decide to prevent your child from making it a habit, then you can try the following things.

thumb stopping kits
  • Put Limits:

    limit the time your child sucks his/her thumb. Let him/her continue this habit as a nighttime activity, but not in public.
  • Avoid confrontation:

    never tell your kid to stop doing it or warn him/her with consequences if he/she keeps doing it. Use praise rather than criticism to positively change the kid’s habit.
  • Talk:

    keep communicating with your child. Make him/her feel loved unconditionally. Support your kid and keep reassuring him/her with love and care. Tell your child about the harmful effects of a thumb-sucking habit.
  • Firm but kind

    it is detrimental to your kid when at vulnerable moments, like, getting hurt or injured, you allow him/her the comfort of thumb-sucking. However, at all other times, you must remain firm with a loving touch.
  • Baby thumb guard:

    there are a lot of options available in the market when it comes to thumb guards. These are available in cloth or soft plastic and can fit on the hands or mouth to prevent children from sucking; you will find the thumb-stopping kits very helpful.

After reading and going through the information Top-Mom have given here, you will find that it is not very difficult to stop your kid from sucking his/her thumb. As a parent, you may love your baby eating hands for 3 months, but it is your job to make sure that this habit does not make your child’s life difficult.

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