4 Tips To Prevent Your Child From Sucking Their Thumb

4 Thumb Sucking Tips To Teach Your Kids This Habit

Thumb-sucking in preschoolers is a bad habit that requires attention – but there are things you can do to stop it. You just need a little love and patience!

Parents worry when they see their kids’ thumb sucking . It’s true that this can cause serious health problems, not just for the teeth, and therefore it’s understandable why parents might be concerned about it.

Have you seen sonograms of babies sucking their thumbs in the uterus? It’s the way they discover the world around them, and it’s perfectly normal. Before you get worried, let’s first try to understand why they are doing this.

Thumb or pacifier?

Babies have a natural suckling reflex. In fact, they need it to survive. This is how they get their food and this calms them down. A baby who is breastfed does not need to suck his thumb or use a pacifier because he has a mother to feed and soothe him.

However, it is normal for a baby to start putting a finger or two in their mouth between two and six months of age. This is one of the stages of development, the way it calms down.

Give your baby a pacifier.

Many parents feel that giving their baby a pacifier is better than letting him suck his thumb. They find it easier to pick up a pacifier when the time is right. You can’t tear your thumb off that easily! Both methods have the same consequences if they are not completed after the child is two years old.

They can then contribute to:

  • Misalignment of the teeth and deformation of the oral cavity.
  • Problems with pronunciation.
  • Hiding hidden emotional problems.

Thumb-sucking – How can I stop my baby from doing this?

Normally, when a child puts their fingers (and thumbs) in their mouth, the habit ceases on its own at around the age of two. So at this age there is no need to worry.

When he turns 3 or 4 and still sucks his thumb, watch them and look for reasons. This way, you will be able to find more effective ways to stop it  and thus protect your baby’s teeth.

Since no two children are the same and they develop at different rates, it can be said that the starting point for action should be when the front teeth begin to emerge. If you’ve noticed that your teeth are starting to grow out to make room for your thumb, it’s definitely time to break the habit.

Here are 4 basic tips to help you.

  1. Determine the cause and introduce your child to other options

If your baby sucks his thumb to help him fall asleep, give him other ways to fall asleep. Hug, tell a story, give them your favorite mascot or doll.

Reading before bedtime.

If he sucks his thumb when he is upset or anxious, it may be enough just to talk to him, hug him and comfort him. If your child is doing this when he is bored, it’s time to spark his creativity and distract him.

Start having fun, get them into art classes, go for a walk … this might be exactly what he is really asking for when he sucks his thumb.

  1. Explain the consequences

Sometimes you resort to tricks or to see a doctor when it is really enough to start talking to your baby. Explain to him in a simple way why it is not a good idea to keep sucking his thumb.

You may be surprised how many children understand what you are saying to them and will act according to your will. Tell him that such a habit can spoil his teeth, that he is no longer a tiny baby, and now it’s time to stop sucking your thumb.

However, don’t let him feel ashamed in front of other people . Definitely don’t yell  or punish them if you catch them with your thumb in your mouth. There is then a risk that it will stop doing this in front of you, but will continue to do so when left alone.

It’s much better to use positive reinforcement when you see it dealing with the underlying cause (sleepiness, anxiety, boredom) in a better way.

  1. Cover your thumb

You may need to take further steps to prevent your baby from sucking on their thumb. Probably some calluses appeared on it from sucking the thumb, so wrap it with a bandage and explain to reduce them.

Child with fingers in his mouth.

The bandage should be secure, but not too tight. You don’t want your child to take them off by themselves. Change it twice a day and leave it on, both day and night for 2 weeks.

If he tries to suck his thumb, the texture and taste of the bandage will repel them. Some parents also put vinegar or lemon on them to make it even more unpleasant. Do what works best.

After 2 weeks, if your baby has stopped sucking his thumb and you have been working together on the causes, the problem has most likely resolved and there will be a change in behavior.

  1. Get expert advice

If none of the tips above help your child stop sucking their thumb, it’s time to seek help from a specialist. For example, an orthodontist may have a device that prevents a child from placing their thumb in their mouth.

However, if the problem seems disproportionate or difficult to control, you should seek the advice of a child psychologist. This could be a sign of a deeper, more serious problem.

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