Tips for Parents to stop Thumb Sucking

Tips for Parents to Stop Thumb Sucking

For some parents, thumb sucking can be a cute little habit that stops being an issue for their children after a few years – for others, it can be a nightmare that affects both dental strength and social skills. Thumb sucking is a hard thing to get a child to stop doing, purely because of the variety of reasons why it actually happens. It’s a natural reflex that we take to even when the child is still in the womb. Children use sucking as a form of working out what’s good and what’s bad around them – whether it’s a plastic toy car or an ice cube to help soothe teething pains; this is a natural instinct that many of us have. So, how do you actually stop these problems?

Give Them the Facts

It’s been recognized on more than one occasion by various associations as a child’s permanent teeth start to come in, thumb sucking can be a major deterrent to them coming through properly and safely. It can interfere with mouth growth and teeth alignment quite seriously, and can even cause changes to the roof of the mouth! 

Therefore, letting your child know the damage they can do themselves by thumb sucking is usually a good way to “alert” your child to the dangers presented by thumb sucking. If a child is still thumb sucking by the age of five, these little facts should be dropped in to try and get them to stop.

Give Them Control

While constantly nagging your child is far less likely to work than encouraging them, many children suck their thumbs at an older age because of excess encouragement. Use a little bit of reverse psychology instead and give your child little messages about how much they have grown in recent years, and that she no longer does so many things that a child would do.

Tell your child how proud of them you are, and if they have any other suggestions for childish habits they might need to drop.

Get Friendly Help

Does your child have an older sibling or some close friends who they have known since childbirth? If you can trust these friends to be nice about it, or indeed a sibling, then ask them to have a quiet word about the thumb sucking. They might think you are just complaining for the sake of it, but a fellow child telling them this could make a big difference to their intent to stop thumb sucking.

Distraction Techniques

Lastly, using basic distraction techniques that engage both child’s hands can put a stop to thumb sucking. Whether it’s a stuffed animal they cuddle every night, or you have them hold the book that you read to them before bedtime, this can help get your child using both hands instead of potentially doing the usual routine if sucking their thumb. 

It’s not too hard to put an end to thumb sucking for your child if you believe it’s becoming a problem, it just takes a little bit of invention and creativity to really get the message across! 

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