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    Parenting >Physical development
    for Pre-schoolers
    08 January 2015

    How to Stop Thumb-sucking Habit in Children

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    Wom Editorial
    How can you stop your child from sucking his or her thumb? Do you know why your child likes this habit and what are the ill effects of continuous thumb sucking? Keep reading to get all the answers.

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    Thumb sucking is a fairly common habit among children. Most children stop sucking their thumb on their own, but there are some children who find it harder to break the habit. In such cases parent may feel the need to interfere and put a stop to the thumb sucking habit.

    Why do Children Suck their Thumb?

    For most children, it is a coping mechanism. Babies have natural tendency to suck. Baby thumb sucking is a way for the child to deal with anxiety and stress. It makes them feel calm and helps them deal with stressful situations. Sometimes babies start sucking their thumbs simply because it feels good to them. Most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own between the ages of two and four as they learn new coping methods. Some kids find this habit a lot harder to shake. If your child is still sucking his thumb after the age of 4 or 5 then you may need to step in with some thumb sucking remedies.

    Why is Thumb Sucking Bad?

    Thumb sucking beyond a certain age can start to have detrimental effects on your child’s teeth. Excessive and aggressive thumb sucking can cause damage to the soft tissue of the palette and the sides of the jaw. This is why thumb sucking is bad.

    Should you Stop the Thumb Sucking Habit of your Child?

    Keep in mind that your child will not be sucking his or her thumb all the way till college. Eventually, the habit will stop as your child grows out of it. Peer pressure is one of the reasons children stop day time thumb sucking. If you put too much pressure on your child to stop the thumb sucking you will only give them more stress and this could end up delaying the process even longer.

    How to Stop Thumb Sucking:

    Do not use the products that are meant to cover your child’s thumb and cause a bad taste in their mouth. These types of techniques are cruel and will only cause trauma to your child. The thumb is a source of comfort for them and so you should not snatch it away. Pay attention to why your child sucks his or her thumb. Is it a way for them to get your attention? If yes then the best way to stop the habit would be to not give it any attention.

    If your child is sucking on the thumb without even realizing it then you should point it out. Don’t be harsh or critical, just casually point out that they have their thumb in their mouth. If your child uses thumb sucking to cope with anxiety or stress then you should try finding the root of the problem. What is causing the anxiety? Provide your child with an alternate means of coping with some kind words and a few hugs. This will teach them that they do not have to rely on their thumb for comfort.
    Do not be too alarmed or too aggressive with your attempts to stop thumb sucking. Your child will stop when he or she feels ready to let it go.

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    Comments

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    Sanjeeta Sawant
    Hello, I have a 3 year old boy. He has this habit of sucking his thumb while only sleeping. How much ever you ask him to sleep without the thumb in mouth he will not sleep. Now his teeth alignment is already damaged. He has lot of gap in between his teeth. Please advise. 02 September 2015
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    Sanmati Hosure
    Hi, very good information. I am having two kids age of 4 & 2 yrs. Both of them are sucking two fingers. Elder one suck it only at night but the younger one is more addicted to it. I am scared about his teeth as sucking too much will damage his teeth alignment. Kindly advise. 02 September 2015
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