Stop That Thumb-sucker!

Ack! How can a mom possibly stop a thumbsucker?! Can moms really help their kids stop bad habits?

When it comes to thumb-suckers, doctors have tried to prescribe an antidote and grandmothers have tried to soothe it away. Yet, the thumb-sucking continues!

tips on stopping thumb sucking in children

Yes! Moms can help their kids break the habit — once and for all. Thumb-sucking children do not have to become lifers.

And trust me, when your child finally does break the habit, she will be so glad you’ve helped her through this seemingly insurmountable difficulty. Some kids carry the thumb-sucking habit into their teen years. The sooner you guide them into leaving the kingdom of thumbsuckers, the better!

Here is an effective method to break the finger-lickin’ culprit — and it really works! Trust me. I had one of the worst thumb-suckers alive under my roof. But you know what? She still giggles when she thinks about the fun way we tackled her bad habit together — and she is truly thankful. Yep, it can really really happen! Your thumbsucker can be set free!

How to Stop a Thumb-sucker!

  • Embrace the fact that this is a habit, not a behavioral issue. The child is not misbehaving, and therefore should not be punished. It is just a minor impediment that needs to be conquered with understanding — and a helpful plan! One of our main jobs as parents is to offer guidance and assistance — and in embarrassing habits, that is exactly a parent’s role.
  • Look for other dependencies that are coupled with the thumb-sucking. Is the child clutching a blanket or squeezing a teddy bear at the same time? If there are any other comforts associated with the thumb-sucking, these will help wean the child from the habit.
  • Think of a reward system relevant to the child’s affections and desires. Does the child enjoy outings with you? Does the child love getting wrapped presents? Does the child enjoy picking out surprises at the store? Remember, these should be exceptional rewards.
  • how to stop thumb sucking in children

  • Prepare the plan. If the child is a thumb-sucker at night, try to get the child to refrain from thumb-sucking for two consecutive nights. If the child succeeds, reward with two prizes (two outings, two wrapped presents, two dollars, etc.). Thumb-sucking that occurs during the day can be rewarded in the same manner. After the child receives the prize, break the super exciting news. Reiterate to your child that she survived two entire nights without sucking her thumb. Whoa! That’s already an accomplishment! Then, challenge her to strive for five consecutive, thumb-free five nights. Be sure to quickly add that this time she will receive FIVE prizes! Little eyes will bulge and hearts will flutter. It’s a fun goal to meet — with a habit-breaking purpose. Those are my fave kinds!
  • Activate the plan. Designate a specific week to stop your thumb-sucker. Choose a time that is not consumed with extra activities so you can both stay focused.
  • Remind the child of other comforts to use during the tempting times. She can squeeze that favorite teddy bear or hold that special blanket. This time is dedicated to breaking only the dependency of thumb-sucking — not other habits. One step at a time!
  • Provide comfort and encouragement at any time. Praise and encourage often, but only reward thumb-free days or nights. Be a listening ear if your child is having a hard time breaking the habit. As moms, we can all relate to breaking our own bad habits. For me, it’s caffeine and pizza! It’s still a struggle!

Little hearts need big hands to guide them. A fundamental part of parenting is helping your child overcome even the non climatic obstacles in life. Prove to be the mom that will be there for the small and big challenges in life’s path — and your thumbsucker will thank you!

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5 thoughts on “Stop That Thumb-sucker!”

  1. Riley was a thumb sucker until she had hand, foot, and mouth disease. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the sickness was kind of a “blessing in disguise.” She stopped sucking her thumb all by herself in about two days and never went back. Those couple of nights were really difficult – she’d wake herself up every couple of hours when she would try to suck her thumb.

  2. Alison,
    Great thoughts! Just wanted to share with you that I’ve also designed a crochet thumb cozy which helps little ones remember not to suck. You know, for the kid who just can’t remember since sucking is such a habit! I’d love you to check it out over at http://www.cuddlebugkids.com I sell both the crochet pattern as well as the finished cozies. Hope you know someone I can help!
    Blessings,
    Maria

  3. We just went through a similar plan with both of my thumb-sucking children! I was amazed at the attitude shift in my three year old in the first few days. Thumb-sucking really is more than a habit!
    Love your site :)

  4. i hate to admit that im 22 years old and i still suck my thumb :/ .. my daughter caught my habit, at 3 months old she started to suck her thumb to soothe her to sleep. she will be two in may and id like to cut her habbit so she doesnt turn out like me. how do i do that at night time? she only sucks her thumb till she passes out then its out.

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