How to Get Your Child to Stop Sucking Their Thumb

Are you and your child having thumb wars?  “1,2,3,4  I declare thumb-sucking no mo!!”
If you were anything like me when I was a child, thumb sucking has literally sucked years out of your life!  If it is now happening to your child — we are here to help you get your child to stop sucking their thumb!  Stop-Children_Sucking-Their-Thumbs

WHY do children suck their thumbs or fingers?

Well because it’s soothing when they’re bored, tired or anxious.  It is important to know when your child’s habit has crossed the line of a comforting pastime to becoming a potential problem.  Prolonged finger and thumb sucking can cause minor physical problems like chapped skin, calluses, teeth alignment issues and fingernail infections.

If you’re confused on when to start taking action, first know that more than three-quarters of infants suck their thumbs or fingers through the first year of life. Most children will give up the habit on their own before they enter kindergarten.  If thumb sucking persists past their 5th birthday, however, there are some ways to help your child break the habit.

First and foremost we suggest positive reinforcement.  We recommend making a fun progress chart with your child.  Together you can track the days your child goes without their habit and reward them with small prizes as incentives to do well each day!  For some kids, a chat with the dentist about why it’s important to stop thumb sucking is more effective than a talk with mom or dad.  On the bright side, most children will give up the habit on their own, but pressuring a child to do so can end in rebellion.

So what if kind words don’t work?  You’ve explained to your child it’s time to stop and you’re showering them with positivity, yet you continue to find your child holding their blankee with thumb in mouth?  Well I was that child!  My parents tried everything from putting mittens on me to using bad tasting polish on my thumbs to wake me and remind me to stop – none worked. We did our research and there are options on the market specifically made to help end the habit once and for all!  First we found ThumbGuard.  It advertises that it takes less than 4 weeks to completely break the habit with a success rate greater than 95%!  They also sell FingerGuard for breaking the finger sucking habit.  They both sell for $69.90.  If this is too pricey for your household, there is another product on the market called Thumbusters.  Thumbusters is recommended for children ages 4-12 who want to stop sucking their thumb but need a little reminder at difficult times such as bedtime, while watching T.V. or even at school.  These guards are $12.95 each and come in blue, pink and green colors.

Hopefully one of these remedies does the trick and your child’s thumb wars becomes something of the past – call us today at Szmanda Dental if you have any questions or need any in person discussions to help aid your child.

Information compiled from WebMD, Mayo Clinic, ThumbGuard, Thumbusters