How to get your child to quit sucking their thumb

How to get your child to stop sucking their thumb

Getting your child to stop sucking their thumb takes a lot of work. Here are a few do's and don'ts you should consider.

Thumb sucking: How to get your child to quit before school starts
Image credit: iSock/chachamal

The start of the 2022 academic school year is around the corner, and many parents are no doubt feeling anxious about their child's first day. 

The first day of school will be particularly stressful for parents whose child is still sucking his/her thumb. A preschool learner or a child starting Grade 1 will possibly get stares from their classmates due to the habit. 

This can cause them to feel uncomfortable, which is why parents should consider breaking the habit as early as possible. 

Thumb-sucking is a comfort behaviour that usually starts when children are babies and is considered perfectly normal up to the age of two. According to Stanford Children's Health, most thumb suckers stop the habit between two and four years of age.

But many health experts believe children should stop thumb-sucking by the age of five to prevent serious issues. 

Some of the concerns associated with thumb-sucking include teeth development (open bite and overbite), speech impediment, and social issues. 

Parents should speak to their child's dentist or healthcare provider to address any concerns they have about thumb-sucking. 

ALSO READ: France says children must wear masks on transport from age six

Here are a few do's and don'ts you should consider. 

  1. DO make an effort to observe your child's thumb-sucking triggers and patterns or their favourtie thumb-sucking times. Some kids like sucking their thumbs when they are feeling sleepy others do so when they are bored, nervous or angry. You can curb the habit by addressing why they like doing so. 
  2. DON'T make your child feel bad about sucking their thumb. Instead praise them when they don't suck their thumb and tell them how proud you are of them. 
  3. DO keep those thumbs busy. Ask Dr Sears says parents should "distract and redirect the child into an activity that keeps both hands busy" when they see them putting their thumb in their mouth. 
  4. DO speak to other parents about how they broke the habit. All kids are different, but listening to other moms and dads could help. One mom made her daughter watch YouTube videos about thumb-sucking, which helped her kick the habit.
  5. DON'T be impatientIt could take days, weeks, or even a year to get your child to stop sucking their thumb. Keep encouraging them with positive reinforcement.

ALSO READ: Five ways to stick to your fitness goals in 2022

Main image courtesy of iStock/chachamal

Show's Stories