Rule of Thumb
There are many methods you can use at home to reduce thumb sucking and ultimately put a stop to it permanently.
Simple home remedies such as placing a glove, sock or thumb guard on the child’s thumb/finger before bedtime combined with plenty of praise and rewards is often all that is needed.
Whatever your method, always remember that your child needs your support and understanding during the process of breaking the thumb sucking habit. Visit your dentist– it’s amazing what a few words from an expert to your child can do! If all that fails, consider a habit breaker fitted by a dentist or orthodontist.
Runa’s Top Tips
Try and understand the key triggers for your child choosing to suck their thumb and attempt to tackle the root causes. Common reasons for sucking thumbs include anxiety, boredom, tiredness, self-soothing.
Explain clearly to your child what might happen to their teeth if the thumb sucking continues. Most children are unaware how their little thumbs can affect their mouth and teeth and react in a very positive way when this is demonstrated to them.
Once you understand your child’s triggers you can get creative with methods to help them stop. If your child often reverts to thumb sucking during long car rides or watching television then develop diversions for these occasions. Keeping little hands busy is vital!
A progress chart is a great incentive for your child and makes them an active participant in the project. Rewarding them for all the times they remember to stop sucking their thumb will increase their own willingness to break the habit.
Things to avoid
- Avoid making it a big issue in the family
- Wait until your child has reached the age of reason, between four and six
- Don’t nag your child
- If your child is insecure, has any emotional problems, or is under stress and needs comforting, you may need to resolve those issues first before your child will succeed at stopping thumb-sucking