Tips to stop Children from Sucking Thumb

Updated at: Feb 04, 2013
Tips to stop Children from Sucking Thumb

Sucking thumb is a natural instinct of infants which they outgrow after the first few years of their life.

Vatsal Anand
Tips for ParentWritten by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Feb 04, 2013

A baby sucking his thumbSucking thumb is a child’s way of comforting himself/herself from any sort of anxiety or boredom. It is a natural instinct of infants which they outgrow after the first few years of their life. Kids should be able to turn away from this habit up till preschool as with the growth of permanent teeth, it could pose problems.


The best way to help them get rid of this problem is to find ways in which they do it on their own. Some people give their babies a plastic or rubber “pacifier” to suck on. This again is not the right way of dealing with the situation as its prolonged use can damage the jaw.


You can teach your children to persuade themselves out of this habit with a little encouragement and the right sort of teaching.


  • Observe your child’s thumb sucking habit. If internal conflicts or anxieties prompt them to seek comfort in sucking their thumb, tell them about other positive ways of dealing with this situation like any game which he can play alone.
  • Try to instill self esteem to mould his habits. Tell himthat he is too old for it and that it may lead to problems like teasing by friends.
  • Keeping him in the company of kids his age that do not have the problem of thumb sucking can help.
  • Reward your child if he does not suck his thumb. Ask him to do it for more days to keep getting the reward. Mark the date on a calendar on which he does not suck his thumb with something encouraging like a star or flower drawing.
  • Encourage your child to engage in activities that require him to use both the hands. This will divert his attention from sucking thumb.
  • Apply some bad tasting edible material like pickle or vinegar on the child’s thumb. Tell the child that it is a reminder of him being a grown up rather than instilling guilt by making it sound like a punishment. This will dissuade him from thumb sucking with a positive affirmation.
  • Make your child look in the mirror while sucking thumb to let him know how odd it looks.


A child sucking thumb is not a pleasant sight after a while and can be very harmful also. Besides being harmful with regards to physical health, children sucking thumb open themselves to the social stigma of the tease and ridicule of their peer group too.




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