Thumb-sucking: How To Stop Your Child From Sucking Her Thumb

stop thumb-sucking

The only reason kids suck their thumbs is because it is comforting to them. Your baby probably practices this habit right from the womb but turned pro as an infant.

After the arrival of your child, she now turns to her thumb when she’s tired, scared, bored, sick, or trying to adjust to challenges such as starting to work, getting started with preschool and other reasons. Your child may also use her thumb to help her fall asleep at bedtime and to lull herself back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

How Do You Stop Your Child From Sucking Her Thumb?

Don’t stress much about it. One of the reasons why many parents (including me) go against the habit of thumb-sucking in a child is the fear of damaging the jaws or the alignments of their teeth. However, studies have revealed that children (most of them) can safely suck their thumb without effect from the stated areas.

Nevertheless, Experts further reveals that not every thumb-sucking habit leads to deformation of the teeth, as there are indications that children who suck their thumbs aggressively are more likely to have dental issues than those who passively rest their thumbs in their mouth.

You want to pay attention to the chosen technique by your child. Some infant sucks the thumb vigorously and often. In this case, it is very important you take measures to curbing the habit as early as possible. But then, if at any point in time, you realize any changes in her teeth or mouth, or you are unsure if your infant thumb sucking is causing a problem – don’t hesitate to consult a dentist.

Sometimes (and naturally), most children stop thumb-sucking on their own, especially when they are between the ages of 2 and 3 or longer. If your child’s thumb becomes red in the process of sucking, try applying a moisturizer while she’s asleep.

Don’t force it. Punishing your child to permanently keep her thumb away from her mouth might not yield any result, as your preschooler does not realize what she is doing. I learnt some parents go about cutting/marking a part of the thumb to prevent their little one from sucking. This is an absolute unjust punishment of the highest!

Other methods like wrapping an elastic bandage around her thumb might seem unfair too, as we both know she indulges in the thumb-sucking habit for her own comfort and security. In fact, forcing your child to stop the habit can further enhance her desire to do it even more.

Don’t rush it. Usually, children give up thumb-sucking as soon as they find something else that gives them comfort. For example, if your child sucks her thumb whenever she feels bored, she will soon learn other ways to get over boredom by playing around with friends, which would eventually help her stop the habit.

Distract thumb-sucking with other activities. This can be easily achievable, as it deals solely with finding out what prompts your child to suck her thumb. Identify situations that are likely responsible for motivating the habit more, and distract your little one with other activities. For instance, if you find out your child only sucks her thumb when watching the TV, you should consider introducing a substitute; preferable one which engages her hands.

The most important thing is to realise where and when sucking occurs, then divert her attention with an alternative offer.



  1. If a child wants to stop, but is unable to or you are concerned about the problems thumb sucking could be causing your child’s teeth, then Thumbsie can help. Thumbsie provide fun & colourful fabric guards for both thumb and finger suckers and help in a positive way.

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