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How to Break the Habit of Thumb Sucking in Children?

Thumb sucking is common among babies and some start sucking their thumbs inside their mothers’ wombs. They have natural sucking reflexes and usually suck their thumbs to self-soothe or when they are trying to fall asleep. Thumb or pacifier sucking is a habit that helps babies and toddlers to feel safe and secure. However, after a certain age, thumb sucking must stop and usually become a habit parents can’t seem to curb. Certain tips are listed in this blog that will help you to break the habit of thumb-sucking in your baby.

How can Thumb Sucking Affect the Teeth?

The habit of thumb sucking can affect a child’s jaw and teeth alignment. The pressure applied to the upper jaw can lead to the mouth not closing up properly. If children keep sucking their thumbs even after permanent teeth have grown then an appearance of “buck teeth” can emerge. This does not just affect the appearance but affects the overall confidence of the kid. Lisps have also been associated with thumb-sucking.

Look for the Triggers

Children suck their thumbs when they are stressed or uncomfortable. Identify the things that stress them out and comfort them in their ways. Sometimes a simple hug or your kind words can work wonders. Reassure them and give them their teddies to hold on to.

Handle with Patience

Do not get upset and yell at your child. Be patient with them. Scolding or hitting your child might not yield cooperation. Try to stay calm and find ways to convey to your toddler the harms of thumb-sucking. 

Reward Your Child

Shower your kid with small rewards and praises when they are not sucking their thumbs. For starters, you can create a sticker chart and give them stickers whenever they don’t suck their thumb. Set small attainable goals that would slowly lead your child to break the habit. Focus on the times when they are not sucking their thumb and shower them with positive remarks instead of drawing attention and scolding them when they are sucking.

Offer Different Coping Strategies

Your child might resort to thumb-sucking to deal with anxiety, stress, or situations that cause him discomfort. Identify the triggers and teach him other coping skills such as using a stress ball, listening to music, or doing breathing exercises. These simple diversionary tactics can take their mind off of their thumbs and curb the habit. 

Avoid Taste Tricks

Oftentimes parents, in their desperation to break the habit of thumb sucking, put hot sauce or pepper on the fingers. This could be extremely dangerous and should not be done at any cost. These extreme tactics cause more harm than good. Your child could develop digestive problems. Hence, it is best to avoid experimenting with these flavors. Instead, you could put a bit of vinegar but you need to be excessively careful with these methods. 

We hope this blog will provide enough insight into how to break the habit of thumb-sucking in your children. If you have further queries and you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Tinley Park, IL then visits us.