How to reduce the “thumb sucking habit” in children

Published on November 17, 2015

Worried of your child’s thumb sucking?

This habit at its nastiest outgrows from infancy to childhood years.

Where to draw a line? How much of it is deemed okay?

Track the practice and understand whether it is really a habit. Some children do it out of mere boredom. This can be overcome by engaging them in different activities which involves use of hands. Experts say children generally grow out of this need. Thumb sucking in infants and toddlers is normal unless it shows the signs of an outgrowing habit. Persistent habit can result in crooked teeth, ingestion of germs, skin infections and inflammation etc. Apart from the health concerns, it is the social implications that worry moms.

How to curb outdoes?

Identify what triggers it. When you know the cause, it becomes easy to crack a solution. Reasons could be hunger, nervousness, boredom. Some children find it soothing and do it in order to fall asleep. Once you figure out the reason, you can find ways to cut it down. Either substitute or distract him into other activities.

Make them aware that it is yucky. Not a good habit!

Enforce limits by telling him what time or how much time it is okay to suck his thumb. Say, few mins before falling asleep. And gradually reduce the time.

Don’t be aggressive because sometimes children feel it comforting and stopping at that moment will traumatize the child and even make them stubborn.

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