3 Ways to Help Your Child Stop Their Thumbsucking

Thumb sucking is one of the most common gestures seen in babies from months to three years old. It’s a natural behaviour that may or not occur in the child and usually disappears by itself. And you won’t necessarily have to help your child stop their thumbsucking.

Even so,

Certain stressful events like the COVID-19 pandemic can cause an anxious response in toddlers. Thus, extending this habit for more than the usual period. 

Kids of four, five, or more years may suck their thumbs as a coping mechanism. 

When this happens for more than three years, it can affect the oral structure of the kids, bringing lasting consequences such as:

  • Overbite
  • Open bite
  • Skin problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Social pressure

Like many coping mechanisms, thumb sucking may be an unconscious act for your kids. In that case, you may be able to correct it with simple reminders. 

In case this doesn’t work, apply a dedicated approach like the one will present today. Stay tuned and figure out three ways to help your child stop thumbsucking.

How to help your child to stop sucking their thumb

As mentioned, thumbsucking can disappear by itself with time if the chance is given. But when it doesn’t, it’s best to turn into distracting or dissuading solutions.

Reminders and positive reinforcement

Offer your child reminders like painting the tip of their thumb (with non-toxic paint) or getting a coloured band-aid. When the reminder stays put due to the lack of sucking, you should positively reward them.

You can gamify it and boost your kid’s self-confidence at once!

Keep those hands busy

As thumbsucking may be a sign of anxiety and boredom, providing your toddler with new and entertaining activities may help them forget about sucking. And once you see they begin to progress, you can set a milestone with them. 

In this way, you teach your child that efforts will have a fixed period and that once the goal is surpassed, he or she will no longer need reminders or extra homework.

Sensory options and competing habits

In some cases, thumbsucking is related to sensitive needs. Meeting these needs with an alternative option is an excellent way to get rid of the habit. There’re even toys known as “Chewelry” -necklaces, bracelets, and the likes- made exclusively for chewing.

Other tools like fidget toys can also be of great help when it comes to helping your child stop their thumbsucking.

And if this doesn’t seem enough, challenge your kid by setting tasks like: “when you feel like sucking your thumb, count the beads on your necklace.” This technique will slowly replace one habit with the other.

What to do if your kid keeps thumb sucking?

If none of these techniques works, you may consider talking to your kid’s dentist and finding professional solutions. 

On the other hand, a vital way to help your child stop thumbsucking is by providing a calm and safe environment. And always remember helping your kid with their habits is a matter of patience and timely intervention, never forcing this through.

Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Any reliance you place on the information provided in these blogs is, therefore, strictly at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use of the information provided on this website.
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