Why and How to Help Your Child Stop Thumb Sucking

how to stop thumb sucking


You might think that thumb sucking is harmless, but only for the first few years of the child’s life. Thumb sucking begins as the first form of coping with emotions and inability to communicate, but if they continue the habit into their toddler years and beyond, a lot of complications can occur.

Whether it’s physical damages, social issues, or emotional development, there are a lot of consequences of thumb sucking. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to end the habit and help your child stop for good.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should help your child stop thumb sucking and how exactly you can do so…

Reasons to Get Your Child to Stop Sucking their Thumbs

Physical Damages

The first thing that you will notice when it comes to the consequences of thumb sucking is the physical damages that occur. Malocclusion of the teeth is a big one. This is when either one row or both rows of teeth are misaligned and directed outwards, resulting in an overbite or an open bite. It can require orthodontic work. Thumb sucking also irritates the skin, causing peeling, callusing, ingrown nails, and rashes. It can both lead to infection on the skin and in the mouth. Finally, a speech impediment may arise.

Social Issues

A speech impediment and the inability to communicate themselves will lead to social issues. Some students may make fun of your child if they continue thumb sucking. While the habit causes trouble with communication, a lot of children have a hard time sharing their feelings. This also has to do with the emotional development of your child.

Emotional Development

Thumb sucking leads to problems with emotional development because it is the first coping mechanism. If they don’t stop the habit, it will be hard for them to develop new ways of dealing with their emotions. Some psychologists even believe that prolonged thumb sucking is the first sign of addictive behaviors and may be a sign of other psychological problems that will result from the latent development. It doesn’t matter what results, it’s important for you as a parent to help your child beat the habit.

How to Get Your Child to Stop Sucking their Thumbs

Thumb Covers & Guards

One of the best ways to help your child stop thumb sucking is to use a thumb cover or guard. A thumbsie is a cloth cover that wraps around your wrist and thumb. The child will still be able to suck the thumb, but without getting it wet with moisture. A thumb guard is the plastic equivalent that is even harder to suck. Finally, a thumb sucking glove covers various parts of the hand and obstructs the child from continuing the habit. While it won’t stop the habit right away, over time these products will discourage the child from sucking their thumbs.

Mavala Nail Polish

Mavala nail polish is a product designed to mitigate the habit. Since the nail polish is bitter to taste, it repulses the child. Kids don’t have a developed palate and don’t like the taste of bitterness. Simply paint your child’s nails with this transparent, bad-tasting polish and they will begin to stop because they hate the taste of it. It may seem cruel but it’s an effective way to end the thumb sucking habit.

Elbow Guards

Finally, elbow guards completely stop the child from bringing their hands up to their mouths. You can’t use this product all the time, but if you utilize an elbow guard and some of the other products above, you can help your child stop thumb sucking. When you have tried everything else, a brace or elbow guard will do the job by completely prohibiting the child from sucking their thumbs or fingers.

The Takeaway

Thumb sucking is a bad habit that can be difficult to stop. If you are still having trouble getting your kid to stop it, you can always consult a doctor or a psychologist who can help you determine why they are still sucking their thumbs and how you can get them to cease the habit.

Since it obstructs the child’s ability to cope emotionally, communicate socially, and avoid physical damages, it is imperative to help your child stop their thumb sucking habit immediately. They will hate you at first but you will be doing the right thing.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *