• Akkie

Thumb Sucking Habit in Kids

Updated: Apr 20

How to Break the Habit of Thumb Sucking?


It didn’t surprise me when I learned that my sister’s two-year-old daughter still sucks her thumb. Quite irksome to see your toddler sucking thumbs, isn’t it? Is it just a phase that all kids go through? Should we worry about this habit and do something about it?

So, this article is to let her and other new Moms like her, understand the habit of thumb sucking and how to help your kid get rid of this.

We all know that the sucking reflex is responsible for breastfeeding. It comes naturally, and many of the kids use it to soothe themselves, usually, they suck thumb when they are distressed or uncomfortable because it has an emotional aspect attached to it that helps them to feel secure. As a parent, you might wonder at what point this is going to become a matter of concern and what you can do to help. Parents, remember that pressuring her to stop may intensify her desire to it even more.

Emotional attachment A child sucking his/her thumb might be a sign that he/she needs you close for a while, to simply hear and love them, so any uncomfortable feelings can be let go. Your warm, caring presence is the key to unlocking this healing process for your child.

What not to do - Don’t compare your child to other kids who don’t have this habit, other kids might have different obsessions.

Don’t make it all about how someone else wants the child to stop this.

Do not begin when the child is beginning to go to school.


If you are planning to wean, do check this post : https://www.messymom.co/post/weaning-from-breastfeeding

Side Effects of Thumb Sucking

  1. Skin problem: Children may develop issues on the skin, from sucking such as callousness on the thumb. The skin of the thumb will begin to peel the excessive pressure and moisture of the mouth.

  2. Dental misalignment: Though frightening to believe, prolonged thumb sucking may lead to teeth misalignment often difficult to get corrected.

  3. Speech Impediment: Due to excessive thumb sucking, the shape of a child’s jaws change and can affect the child’s speech pattern. This is due to the misalignment of the teeth. Children can have trouble pronouncing tough consonants.

While getting to know the side effects, very obviously we start to get worried about our Lil ones. There are several ways you can follow to help them get rid of it. Here are some ideas to motivate your child to stop sucking the thumb.



Get to the root of it Find out if there is any specific reason for your child’s thumb sucking. Is there any stress, worry, or anxiety? You have to observe your child if there are any patterns when they start sucking on their thumb. If the thumb sucking seems related to the child's feeling insecure or needing comfort, focus instead on correcting the cause of anxiety and provide comfort to your child.

  1. Reward your child: Use positive reinforcement, giving your child an incentive such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park can give him or her reason enough to kick their thumb-sucking habit.

  2. Talk to them: Talk it over with your child in a gentle voice. Tell them that they are growing and big boys and girls don’t suck their thumb. Tell them how germs from their hand can make them sick.

  3. Talk to your paediatrician/dentist: A talk with your paediatrician or the dentist might be a great help. Talking to them will make your child take the implications of their habits more seriously.

  4. Plastic thumb or finger covers: Aimed at three to six-year-old, this stopping thumb sucking comes with a little thumb puppet kids can wear any time, day, or night to help remind them not to suck.

Don't forget to be diligent with your Lil one, after all, even for adults tackling an obsession is quite challenging often.


Thumbuddy to love

Available – Online


(I am not in favour of this cover ☹)

Anything can work for your Lil one, but you have to be a little patient. One of my friends told me that she tried with her son wearing Ben10 boxing gloves and it did the trick. Her child couldn’t just pull them off. The best part was that he thought the gloves were cool.


Easy way to break the habit of thumb sucking

Following Has Tricked So Well For Me 😊

My Sweetheart used to suck her thumb hiding with her favourite swaddle since she was a baby. I was thankful at the time to not have to constantly hunt for the stray pacifier, but I knew we’d get to the point where we had to kick the habit, then one day when she was taking a nap during the day, during her deepest sleep, I applied the nail polish and about 20 minutes later you bet I heard her crying and calling for me. I walked in as being unaware of what happened and she explained her thumb tasted Grose. I immediately gave her water and replied... oh my!! maybe all the good stuff has gone! Which means you’re a big kid now! It took about two minutes to rub the finger with a towel. I tried to help her to get that awful taste off. With every attempt we would try, I would ask her to try it again and asked her if it still tasted bad, which of course it did (doesn’t wash off). She then said that she was going to pray to God could fix it back... awww... Then I explained to her that there comes a time when you become a big kid and no one can no longer have a baby thumb. She had already sucked up all the good stuff and that just happens naturally and since then she stopped her habit.

Little hearts need big hands to guide them.

This was my journey of breaking the habit of thumb love. It might be different for you. Do share your experiences.


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