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Thumb Sucking

How to stop thumb sucking

Thumb and Finger sucking are totally natural for young children. Children often suck their thumb or finger right from birth, or even before; it is a natural habit which can bring comfort, reassurance and relaxation.

Most children give up sucking easily before starting school, but in some cases that doesn’t happen naturally.  Once adult teeth start to grow in, thumb or finger sucking can lead to speech and dental problems which can sometimes require painful and protracted correction.

Trying to help a child to give up sucking can be stressful for the whole family, so here are our tips to help to stop the sucking as kindly, quickly and easily as possible:

  • Be positive and reward ‘good’ behaviour, perhaps using a reward chart, lots of praise or special treats
how to stop thumb sucking

Reward Charts

  • Be consistent – even if that is hard at trigger points like bedtime or long car journeys
  • Gently draw attention to the habit if your child doesn’t always realise that they are sucking; it can be quite an unconscious action
  • Remove any items associate with sucking, like a blanket or soft toy
  • Try not to shout or lose your patience, this can simply lead to more comfort sucking
  • Anticipate the triggers around sucking, for instance watching TV, and find a way of distracting them from the habit
  • Explain why sucking is potentially damaging to teeth, and perhaps plan a visit to the dentist so that he or she can explain the implication of sucking
  • Sensitively show your child internet images of the damage that sucking can cause to teeth
  • Involve your family or child’s carers/teachers to help reinforce your efforts
  • Use a physical barrier to stop a child sucking, such as a thumb guard, like Thumbsie®
to stop thumb sucking panda thumb guard

Thumb guard

  • Make sure that any barrier you use fits properly and stops sucking
  • If you decide to use a Thumbsie® involve your child in the choice of fabrics for their thumb guard. There are lots of fun designs to choose from and most children are really excited by being part of the process and fully commit to trying to give up
  • Try the Thumbsie® book and reward chart which has proven to be the most successful combination for giving up
  • Keep at it – any solution can take a few weeks, and it’s all too easy to give up too quickly. It can take up to 3 weeks to crack the habit even with a Thumbsie® and sometimes longer.

Thumbsie® has a very good success rate when it comes to stopping finger and thumb sucking.  We love sharing our success stories, so head off there and be encouraged by those who have already given up happily and easily….and for ever!

Buy thumb guards

Stop thumb sucking with our fabric thumb guards

Buy finger guards

Stop finger sucking with our fabric Finger Guards
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