Tips to Stop Toddler Thumb Sucking

Tips to Stop Toddler Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is one of the most common habits for toddlers. While this habit can seem cute in babies and is commonly used as a coping mechanism for children—typically toddlers will learn their own new coping mechanisms by this phase in their lives. However, if your child is still sucking their thumb, it can have psychological and dental implications.

The good news is, while some toddlers may not be able to break this habit on their own—there are ways that toddlers can stop this habit before it has lasting effects. However, as every toddler parent knows, most kids this age aren’t easily persuaded to do things they don’t want to do—so here are a few tips to help your toddler stop their thumb sucking habits for good.

  • Try to Limit Where Your Child is Sucking Their Thumb- This strategy is a great way to easily ween your child off of thumb sucking. Instead of halting thumb sucking entirely, you can limit thumb sucking to just your child’s bedroom—or only in the house. If you explain to your child that thumb sucking is a bedtime or nap time activity, not a public activity, then they will start to be more comfortable with stepping away from this habit.
  • Offer Help- Instead of telling your child to stop thumb sucking, or punishing them for sucking their thumb, try to talk to your child about this habit. Help your child understand that you are there to help them whenever they are ready to stop.
  • Understand That Thumb Sucking Can Be a Comforting Mechanism- If you want to help your child stop thumb sucking, you need to understand why they are sucking their thumb. This is a coping mechanism for many toddlers. So, if your child starts sucking their thumb when they are scared, hurt or injured, don’t reprimand your child—it will only traumatize your child more.
  • Don’t Try to Use The Products That Halt Thumb Sucking- There are gloves, mittens and sour tasting products that can stop toddlers from thumb sucking. Taking this abrupt approach to stopping thumb sucking can be very frustrating and cause your toddler even more anxiety, as they try to work around these new “punishments” for thumb sucking.
  • Be Patient- Your child is likely not going to stop thumb sucking overnight, so try to have patience. Encourage positive steps towards kicking the habit—and understand that many children will eventually stop this behavior themselves over time. You simply need to encourage them along their journey.

If you have questions about thumb sucking and ways in which you can help your toddler move on from this habit, contact us at Continuum Pediatrics today. Simply call 817-617-8600 to make an appointment.

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