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 to break the habit. Why some children are more attached to thumb sucking then others. 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. In this article, we will discuss various ways on How to stop thumb sucking habit.

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.

How To Stop Thumb Sucking

Knowing that thumb sucking is a natural occurrence in children does not stop the fact. It can have a damaging effect on a child’s oral health. Damage to the jawline, overbites, crossbites, and shifting 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? You can take safeguard their oral health and growth.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist. Voice your concerns and consider their advice. They can assess the age and development of your child. You can give a general guideline. 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.

Thumb Sucking and Finger Sucking: Best Ways to break the habit

If you decide that it is indeed time to move your child away from the 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. 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

There is a slew of products available to parents to help them through this struggle. One of the more popular products that have successfully discourage nail biting and thumb sucking in both kids and adults. It is Mavala Stop which makes 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’s thumb. They can try other aids such as the Thumb Guard 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. 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. 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.