All babies are born with an intense need to suck, but that’s essential because sucking is how babies drink from the breast or a bottle. Infants also find the sucking sensation soothing, and many continue to do it outside of feeding sessions. While some babies and toddlers prefer using pacifiers to satisfy their sucking needs, other babies find their thumbs or fingers to be the best for self-soothing.
Let’s discuss thumb-sucking habits in kids and learn methods to overcome them.

It’s A Natural Habit

Although it’s considered harmless, many parents ask how long thumb sucking in kids will go on. Furthermore, should a child still suck their thumb when ready for preschool? It can also be very difficult to prevent your 3- or 4-year-old child sucking their thumb or fingers.

But relax, as you know that your little one will kick the habit at a certain point, hopefully before they go to school. Commonly, most children stop thumb-sucking on their own before entering kindergarten. However, you know your child best. If you feel they need a little extra intervention, plenty of strategies and products may help. They work best for older children who want to stop.

Thumb Sucking Can Lead To Oral Problems 

Sucking puts pressure on the sides of the upper jaw and the soft tissue on the roof of the mouth, and as a result, the upper jaw can narrow, causing the teeth to not meet properly from top to bottom. One can fix this with braces. Although, if they cause speech problems such as a lisp, that may need to get corrected in therapy.

Incase your child gets a tooth injury while sucking, you may follow the tips mentioned here.

When Is The Right Time To Get Rid Of Thumb Sucking Habits?

Usually, a child in the 2- to the 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb, or finger sucking, such as language development, and these coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, leading to problems for their growing mouths and speech.

Ways To Quit Thumb-Sucking Habits In Kids

  • Learn about thumb sucking together.
  • Observe thumb-sucking patterns.
  • Offer rewards and incentives.
  • Establish rules or boundaries.

Observe Thumb-Sucking Patterns In Your Child

If you notice your child only sucks their thumb before bedtime, they may just need another way to wind down. Parents should try offering a warm cup of milk, cuddles, and a story before bedtime teeth brushing.

Generally, kids are more likely to suck thumbs when angry, sad, or worried.

Generally, kids are more likely to suck their thumb when angry, sad, or worried.

You may notice they pop their thumb in their mouth every time they’re anxious, angry, or sad. Help the child look for another coping means, such as a cheery activity or a snugly toy to replace the thumb sucking.

Establish Rules Or Boundaries

Tell your child they can suck their thumb only when they’re in bed or watching TV. It is a good way to phase out the habit without turning it into a power struggle. Your child still gets to do it but will hopefully do it less over time.


Helpful Hints For Getting Rid Of Thumb Sucking Habits In Kids

  • Try to limit the time your child sucks his thumb in his bedroom or the house, but not in public. 
  • Don’t turn it into a dispute. Don’t tell your child, ‘You cannot suck your thumb anymore,” Try to praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.
  • Talk to your child about their thumb sucking or finger sucking. Help your child understand that when they are ready to stop, you will be there to help.
  • Don’t stop your child if they try to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. They need to be in their comfort zone, and by not letting them go there, you’re only traumatizing them more. 
  • Practice self-awareness with your child. When your child is sucking their thumb, ask them if they are aware they are doing so. Also, find another way to soothe them if they need it, like a blanket or stuffed animal.”
  • Come up with creative ways to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won’t suck their thumb anymore.
  • Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick fix to thumb or finger sucking. It will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety.
  • Remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are ready. All kids most likely will eventually give it up.