5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking

If your child sucks his thumb, you’re not alone. It’s a pretty common habit. But, there comes a point when you may begin to feel like the thumb sucking needs to stop. Whether it’s an age thing or the fact that he or she is starting school, kids can’t suck their thumbs forever! Check out these great tips to end thumb sucking.

5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking: Offer Another Comfort

thumb sucking
Help kids find another comfort

Many kids resort to thumb sucking as a way to comfort themselves. If this is the case, you first need to figure out what has them upset or feeling uncomfortable. Once you do this, help them find another way to comfort themselves. Maybe it means you need to give them extra hugs. Maybe it means they need to hug their favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Whatever the case, you need to show them there are other ways to feel better besides sucking their thumb.

5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking: Distract & Conquer

Another way to ditch the thumb sucking habit is to keep those little hands busy. If you notice your child seems bored just before he starts sucking his thumb, then try a distraction. Maybe start playing a game of “thumbkin”. Try coloring. Be creative. But, since you can’t be with your child every moment of every day, it’s impossible to always be there to distract and conquer. In these cases, offer a substitute. Tell your child to do something like squeeze their thumb gently when the urge comes on. You can also tell them to play the “thumbkin” game when you’re not around. Offering a substitute is a great alternative.

5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking: A Band-Aid Reminder

thumb sucking
Use a Band-Aid reminder

If your child tells you he forgot he’s not supposed to suck his thumb, give him a Band-Aid reminder. It may sound silly but you won’t put a finger in your mouth if there’s a Band-Aid on it, right? You could make it fun for your child by letting him pick out his favorite character…whatever it takes to stop the thumb sucking.

5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking: Reward Chart

Reward charts seem to work for everything, so why not you use one in this case. You could take a few different approaches. You could give small rewards for each day without thumb sucking and track progress on a chart. You could also put a sticker on every “thumb sucking” free day. When your child racks up a certain number of points (days without thumb sucking) he gets a prize. The more days he goes without, the bigger the prize (within reason). It never hurts to create incentive!

5 Great Tips to End Thumb Sucking: Have a Talk with the Dentist

If you’re still getting nowhere with your child, see if your dentist can help. For some kids hearing why they should stop sucking their thumb has more weight when it comes from a doctor. Thumb sucking can become a problem once a child’s permanent teeth come in. A dentist will tell them that. A dentist may also recommend a special mouth guard or other item to help your child stop sucking his thumb.

You may have to try a couple of these techniques before you find the right one for your child. Whatever the case, be patient!

 

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