Though not every child does it, many go through a phase where they suck their thumb or other fingers. Thumbsucking can be very bad for your child's health and teeth if they keep this up past their toddler phase. Letting your child suck their fingers as they keep growing is going to cause you problems as you try to get them to quit this bad habit.
Instead, you need to get ahead of the problem and get your child to stop thumbsucking before it gets out of control. So keep reading to discover the ten best tips to stop your child from sucking their thumb.
10 Put Vaseline On Their Thumb
Everyone knows that breaking a bad habit is hard. Even your child who has the bad habit of sucking their thumb is going to have trouble when it comes to stopping this. An old trick that many mothers have used back in the day is to put vaseline on your child's thumb!
Once they feel the vaseline on their thumb they are going to be disgusted by the taste. This is a trick that can help keep your child on the right path and to keep their thumb out of their mouths!
9 Identify Triggers
If you catch your child sucking on their fingers it is because they are using it to feel more comfortable about a situation. As a parent, you need to take the time to see what triggers are causing your child to suck their thumb.
Once you know their triggers you can focus on getting them away from them if they are situational or teach them how to overcome it. Be on the look at the next time your child is sucking their thumb so we can identify what caused this.
8 Substitute Their Thumb With A Healthy Snack
If your child wants to put something in their mouth to suck on why not give them a healthy snack to help with this. These snacks such be full of flavors like strawberries or blueberries. Or you can even make some homemade fruit pops that you can give their child when they feel like they are going to start sucking their thumb.
This can be a sweet treat for them to not suck their thumb and be a great positive reinforcement they need to leave behind this awful habit!
7 Have Them Rub A Silky Blanket Instead For Comfort
A trick that we have used in our family to get a little one to stop thumbsucking was to have them rub a silky blanket in between their thumbs for comfort instead of sucking their thumb. A silky blanket is going to use their sensory skills to feel something soft and soothing for them.
So stop their thumbsucking by giving them another time they can hold onto for comfort instead and we know this habit will stop right away! Plus, blankets are sometimes called a “security blanket” for a reason. There is something that is just so soothing about them for certain children.
6 Don’t Punish Them When They Do It
The biggest mistake that parents do when they are trying to get their child to stop thumbsucking is to punish them when they catch them in the act. Punishing them is going to make them feel like they are going to need to suck their thumb more to help them through this punishment.
Instead of punishing them, talk to your child about why they are doing this behavior so you have a better understanding of this behavior. Stop the cycle of thumbsucking, by being understanding and not punishing them for this habit.
5 Use Medical Tape To Keep Cotton Balls On Their Thumbs
If your child is having a hard time breaking their thumbsucking habit then you need to think outside of the box. Something that is a sure-fire way to get them to quit thumbsucking is to use medical tape to keep cotton balls on their thumbs.
This method will help out since the moment they place their thumb in their mouth they will taste the cotton ball and get it in their mouth and be disgusted with the feel of it. So before you head out to start your day, make sure you have the time to tape cotton balls on their thumbs.
4 Talk To Them About The Dangerous Of Thumbsucking
Thumbsucking is not just a childish bad habit that toddlers do, thumbsucking can be very dangerous for your child's health in the long run. Thumbsucking could lead to poor mouth health and teething issues.
You might now know that your mouth’s health is connected to everything such as heart health and blood pressure. Though your child is not going to understand all of the dangers, but break it down in a way that they will understand. Take time to educate your child on the dangerous that thumbsucking can live on their lives.
3 Use Positive Reinforcement
Kids are known for being sensitive and right now your child is sucking their thumb to confront them in times they feel distressed. You want to make sure to use positive reinforcement when you are getting your child to get past a bad habit.
This can be in the form of a chart that keeps progress for them and then after so many points they can get a treat. Or just give them a special privilege when they are successful for not sucking their thumb for the whole day like to stay up late or picking out dinner.
2 Find Another Way To Comfort Them
The reason why the thumbsucking habit form was to have your child self-soothe when they are upset. Though you are happy they are about to self-sooth they need to find another way for them to do it that doesn't involve thumbsucking.
Teach your child to be creative or walk around when they are feeling upset. Anyway for them to healthy express themselves is going to be a step in the right direction. The skills you teach them to help them stop thumbsucking are going to be ones that they carry for the rest of their life.
1 Put A Band-Aid On Their Thumb
A wonderful way to get your child to avoid sucking on their thumb is to put something on it. An affordable way to do this is putting a band-aid over their thumb so when they try to suck it they will get that bad taste in their mouth.
This will start associating thumbsucking with bad experience making them quite it all together. So don’t stress about how long your child will keep up this habit, instead make sure you keep putting new band-aid on their fingers until they fully get over this bad habit!