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Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids

Thumb sucking habit in kids

How to Break the Habit of Thumb Sucking?

It didn’t surprise me when I learned that my sister’s two-year-old daughter still sucks her thumb. Quite irksome to see your toddler sucking thumbs, isn’t it? Is it just a phase that all kids go through? Should we worry about this habit and do something about it?

So, this article is to let her and other new Moms like her, understand the habit of thumb sucking and how to help your kid get rid of this.

We all know that the sucking reflex is responsible for breastfeeding. It comes naturally, and many of the kids use it to soothe themselves, usually, they suck their thumb when they are distressed or uncomfortable because it has an emotional aspect attached to it that helps them to feel secure. As a parent, you might wonder at what point this is going to become a matter of concern and what you can do to help. Parents, remember that pressuring her to stop may intensify her desire to do it even more.

Related post: https://messymom.co/breastfeeding-and-clogged-milk-ducts/

Emotional attachment

A child sucking his/her thumb might be a sign that he/she needs you close for a while, to simply hear and love them, so any uncomfortable feelings can be let go. Your warm, caring presence is the key to unlocking this healing process for your child.

What not to do

Don’t compare your child to other kids who don’t have this habit, other kids might have different obsessions.

Don’t make it all about how someone else wants the child to stop this.

Do not begin when the child is beginning to go to school.

If you are planning to wean, do check this post: https://www.messymom.co/post/weaning-from-breastfeeding

Side Effects of Thumb Sucking

  1. Skin problem: Children may develop issues on the skin, from sucking such as callousness on the thumb. The skin of the thumb will begin to peel the excessive pressure and moisture of the mouth.
  2. Dental misalignment: Though frightening to believe, prolonged thumb sucking may lead to teeth misalignment often difficult to get corrected.
  3. Speech Impediment: Due to excessive thumb sucking, the shape of a child’s jaws change and can affect the child’s speech pattern. This is due to the misalignment of the teeth. Children can have trouble pronouncing tough consonants.

While getting to know the side effects, very obviously we start to get worried about our Lil ones. There are several ways you can follow to help them get rid of it. Here are some ideas to motivate your child to stop sucking the thumb.

Get to the root of Thumb sucking habit

Find out if there is any specific reason for your child’s thumb-sucking habit. Is there any stress, worry, or anxiety? You have to observe your child if there are any patterns when they start sucking on their thumb. If the thumb sucking seems related to the child’s feeling insecure or needing comfort, focus instead on correcting the cause of anxiety and provide comfort to your child.

  1. Reward your child: Use positive reinforcement, giving your child an incentive such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park can give him or her reason enough to kick their thumb-sucking habit.
  2. Talk to them: Talk it over with your child in a gentle voice. Tell them that they are growing and big boys and girls don’t suck their thumb. Tell them how germs from their hand can make them sick.
  3. Talk to your paediatrician/dentist: A talk with your paediatrician or the dentist might be a great help. Talking to them will make your child take the implications of their habits more seriously.
  4. Plastic thumb or finger covers: Aimed at three to six-year-old, this stopping thumb sucking comes with a little thumb puppet kids can wear any time, day, or night to help remind them not to suck.

Don’t forget to be diligent with your Lil one, after all, even for adults tackling an obsession is quite challenging often.

Thumbuddy to love

Available – Online

(I am not in favour of this cover ☹)

Anything can work for your Lil one, but you have to be a little patient. One of my friends told me that she tried with her son wearing Ben10 boxing gloves and it did the trick. Her child couldn’t just pull them off. The best part was that he thought the gloves were cool.

Easy way to break the habit of thumb sucking

Following Has Tricked So Well For Me 

Since she was a baby, my sweetheart has sucked her thumb, concealing it with her favourite swaddle. I was thankful at the time to not have to constantly hunt for a stray pacifier, but I knew we’d get to the point where we had to kick the habit. Then one day, when she was taking a nap during the day, during her deepest sleep, I applied the turmeric paste and about 20 minutes later, you bet I heard her crying and calling for me. I came in, completely unaware of what had occurred, and she explained that her thumb tasted like Grose.

I immediately gave her water and replied… oh my!! Maybe all the good stuff has gone! This means you’re a big kid now! It took about two minutes to rub the finger with a towel. I tried to help her to get that awful taste off. With every attempt we would try, I would ask her to try it again and ask her if it still tasted bad, which of course it did (doesn’t wash off). She then said that she was going to pray to God to fix it back… awwww… Then I explained to her that there comes a time when you become a big kid and no one can no longer have a baby thumb. Since then, she has stopped her habit.

Little hearts need big hands to guide them.

This was my journey of breaking the habit of thumb love. It might be different for you. Do share your experiences.

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About Author

I am an energetic mom of two kids, still learning the ropes of it. I am so excited to start writing about tips, tricks, and advice on things of everyday life.

(21) Comments

  1. […] Related Pots: https://messymom.co/2020/09/30/thumb-sucking-habit-in-kids/ […]

  2. The moment I read the title of this article, I was giggling inside. Why??? Well, because my hubby, still have this habit! Oh yes!!! I just hope he doesn’t read this..haha..anyways, well, I think this habit can be well removed if monitored well during younger years. My youngest kinda have the similar habit, not with her thumb but sucking her 3rd and 4th finger like making this rock n’ roll hand every time she does it. Knowing my hubby had this habit, I was really conscious she didn’t bring it as she grows up. And she didn’t! Close monitoring, and making sure you make them stop can still do the trick.

  3. Yes I know about Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids. We are trying and making sure you make them stop can still do the trick. We shall take care for children. I am glad you have mentioned that. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Wow. This is something really unique that you have covered. So many kids have this habit. Thank you for providing the tips to deal with that.

  5. Thumb sucking in kids is a signal of their insecurity and the need for more emotional security. In most kids it is a passing phase, but if it persists parents need to be really understanding and sympathetic.

  6. I have seen many kids with this habit, though the most common response from any parent is this is just a phase. Glad that you shared all this information behind it. Will be sharing in my circle of friends too.

  7. I am aware of dental misalligment due to thumb sucking and I myself is a good example of the same. But the rest issues i was not aware of …. thanks for sharing

    1. Yes!! My younger sister too is an example of dental misalignment.

  8. My little one does have this habit and we have been trying to wean her off. Your post is helpful.

  9. I had this problem till my teens. And it did lead to misalignment of teeth. It’s good that you making moms aware of this issue so they can correct it early.

  10. Such a lovely tip list. My mom found it very difficult when my sis had this habit. Finally took us a long period to get this off and glad these tips could make it easier for parents

    1. Yes, I can feel you!! My mom also found difficulties with my younger sister habit of thumb sucking, and now she is facing the problem of dental misalignment.

  11. My daughter used to do this for a short span during her 6-8 months. I realized it was because of her new tooth. I used to give her something to hold and her attention got deviated during that time. It stopped afterwards.

  12. Aakriti says:

    So many kids are thumb suckers. As a child even I was. But I was clueless about the deapth of whys and how to handle such kids. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Thumb sucking would mainly become an issue when the others around pick it up. As you said we should not try to stop because others said.

  14. I never knew that thumb sucking could cause skin issues. This could be a matter of concern for many moms. Your reminders are quite valid.

    1. There is no specific data on thumb sucking, but it may be more common than people realize. My younger sister and daughter used to suck their thumbs, and I can feel most of the parents’ pain.

  15. Would the natural tips like salt, neem leaves etc work for thumb sucking. As you said comparing the the child would.scar them

    1. Neem leaves paste is also helpful but I don’t recommend putting salt.

  16. Shreya Jain says:

    Nice tips are shared in this blog post. I will definitely share them to the one in need.

  17. Richa Nimeshwari says:

    My friends son suck his thumb and she is so stressed with this habit. I will share this article with her. This is definitely helpful for all the parents.

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