How To Stop Thumb Sucking Habit In Kids?

By Patricia | January 27, 2010

While sucking on a finger or thumb is a very common habit amongst children, it is also commonly witnessed in a number of adults. In most cases, the habit is borne out of a tendency of the individual to relieve stress and soothe them selves. Most parents tend to get a little worried if their children find it hard to shake this habit as it is known to lead to the development of a number of problems such as dental problems like teeth misalignment and speech impediments. This is especially true if the habit has not been kicked by the time the permanent teeth start to set in. moreover, the habit could lead to a lot of embarrassment and ridicule being received by the child from his or her peer group. While it is alright to be concerned about the habit, you should not get over worried about it until the child has turned at least 4. This is mainly because up to this point, the tendency to suck is usually a natural extension of the sucking needs of the child’s babyhood and the child should grow out of it in due course.


Finger sucking is as much a habit amongst children as smoking is to adults. While obviously varying in severity of outcomes and complications, both conditions are usually a subconscious requirement when the individual does not have any activity to perform or is stressed out. Some children may even feel the need to suck on their fingers or thumbs in order to acquire sleep in the night. In these cases, one of the most successful techniques is to place a sock or glove over the child’s hand during the night, thereby restricting access to the participating fingers or thumb. It is also important that you keep an eye on the child’s swallowing and speech methods as this habit is known to change the swallowing patterns – causing your child to usually thrust his tongue forward whenever he swallows – which is likely to turn into lisping and other speech problems as well. Identifying areas of stress is also very important when it comes to treating finger sucking as this is very likely to be an underlying cause of the entire habit. Spend some time talking to your child and letting him or her know that he or she is now becoming a ‘big kid’ and that big kids do not suck on their fingers.

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