Thumb Sucking: 3 Ways To Help Your Child Kick The Habit

Posted on: 16 August 2016

If you have a child who gains comfort from thumb sucking, try not to get overly concerned. It is a very normal thing for children to do to make themselves feel better. The major thing you should be concerned about is not the behavior, but the damage that it can do to the teeth and jaw. For this reason, you should try to take some measures to get the child to reduce the behavior as much as possible. The following are some ways you may be able to discourage thumb sucking to a degree:

Do Not Overreact

If you notice that your child is sucking his or her thumb, do not overreact and fuss at the child. This will only increase their want to suck their thumb. If your child becomes upset over your reaction, this will cause them to suck the thumb even more, creating a never-ending circle of behavior. Instead, be very subtle and calm when you notice your child with a thumb in his or her mouth. Talk softly and slowly so you do not upset the child.

Provide Distractions

Another thing you can do is distract the child when you see them sucking their thumb. Think of something you can do to get their minds off of what they are doing. Take them outside to play, give them a toy, read a book, or complete a puzzle. Do something that your child enjoys so that they will not think about the thumb.

Use Physical Reminders

If you have a child that is having major difficulty with giving up thumb sucking, you should think about using some physical reminders. This simply means placing something on the primary hand that will prevent the child from sucking the thumb. This can include painting the thumbnails with an unsavory polish that will discourage placing it in the mouth. You can also place a bandage on the thumb so that the child will be reminded that they should not suck on the thumb. If it is a major issue, you can even place a glove on the offending hand until your child can get over the habit.

While you are trying to protect your child's oral health, be careful to not go overboard. You goal with these measures should be to prevent excessive thumb sucking during the day. However, it is to be expected that your child will want to suck the thumb at night or while sleeping. If you have problems with getting your child to avoid the thumb sucking, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist, like one at Dino Kids DDS, to discuss some other options they have.