10 Tips to Stop Thumb Sucking

February 14, 2015

10 Tips to Stop Thumb Sucking
10 Tips to Stop Thumb Sucking

It is not easy to break the habit of thumb sucking as it is not just something enjoyable for the kids but also a method for self soothing. It is often seen that children revert back to sucking whenever they are either, anxious, tired or just bored. Parents who are concerned or struggling to get their child to give it up sometimes find that the child is very resistant. One needs to take thumb sucking psychology into account when dealing with such children. A look at the reason or compulsion behind the habit and resolving emotional issues, if any, can make the process much easier both, for the child and the parents.


However, for most children some simple steps taken at the right time can go a long way in breaking this habit. Once the child has reached 4 he is able to think for himself and understand things around him.


1. Create awareness of the habit in the child by reminding him every time he starts sucking without making him feel guilty or ridicule.


2. Information regarding its impact should be provided by parent – this is crucial that it should not be a rebuke or sound like advice by an authority. It should be more like sharing information or a discussion about it


3. Take the child to a dentist for further information on thumb sucking effects to consolidate the input provided by parent


4. Don’t make it an order, encourage the child to come to the decision himself. It is difficult for the child to stick to the decision, therefore motivating the child through fear of its impact as well as focusing on the benefit that the child will have (an example of potential gain is that there will be no need for ugly looking braces later).


5. Encourage the child to continue to fight the habit through charting his progress and offering incentives.


6. If the child sucks during waking hours, then offer activities that occupy the child. Work with him like an ally.


7. Sometimes the child, despite all his efforts slips up while sleeping. Offer help in the form of blocking access to the thumb.


8. Thumb sucking home remedies like thumb sucking glove at night, thumb home or a special night shirt with the sleeve stitched up is an option.


9. Another simple remedy is applying thumb sucking nail polish during the day or using mechanical devices like thumb guard, ace bandages and so on.


10. Besides this, do not hesitate to take professional help from dentists for appliance therapy. Children are smart and do not hesitate to remove any mechanical or homemade device to reach the thumb.


Thumb sucking appliances


The attitude of the child and parents is important for dental appliances to work. It is important that the child realizes that these appliances are being fitted not as a punishment, but as a reminder to help them. The dentist will select the most appropriate appliance that is likely to work. Some of these are palatal cribs that may be removable or fixed. This works by making it difficult for the thumb to touch the upper palate and takes away the pleasure of sucking.

Another option is an oral screen that can be used while sleeping. It makes it impossible for the child to insert the thumb into his mouth. The hay rakes device has prongs that hurt the thumb when the child puts the thumb in his mouth. This may be needed for compulsive suckers.

The blue grass appliance is used for older children in which a roller is fixed and the child can play with the roller with his tongue to distract himself whenever he has the urge to suck. A modified version of this appliance has two rollers.

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