How to Break the Habit of Thumb Sucking

Are you wondering how to break your kids' habit of thumb sucking? Here are some tips and tricks.

The best way to break the habit of thumb sucking if you think it’s so cute is to never let the child start. This may look adorable and keep your baby quiet, but this can be one of the hardest habits to break with a child. Some children will suck their thumbs well into adulthood and this means they will still continue to suck their thumbs in their thirties when they are upset as a coping mechanism. This is very difficult for parents to see as now these kids have their own families. A pacifier isn’t such a bad idea because there are many ways to reason with a toddler when it comes time for them to give up their pacifier. In addition, think about the dental expenses from thumb sucking. Thumb sucking can cause children to swallow different and they have to start wearing a retainer at a young age before they can wear braces. Braces are hard on their teeth because sometimes they cause the teeth to become softer and wear off the good enamel. Dentistry has changed now due to the invisible liners so the metal isn’t so hard on their teeth.

If your child is still sucking their thumb at three years of age, it’s time to break the habit. Some articles talk about talking to your toddler and using psychology but that’s going to go in one ear and out of the other with your toddler who loves sucking their thumb. When you wait too long, then you have permanent damage to the shape of their jaw, teeth, and their bite. Speech can also begin to be a problem and your child might need speech therapy. Many newborns suck their fingers or thumbs to find a way to soothe themselves, but by the age of three, it’s time to stop the thumb sucking.

By age three and four, the kids that are still sucking fingers and their thumbs usually have developed a gap between their teeth, so their muscles in their tongue don’t develop and their speech is harder to understand. This happens especially when it comes to them using ‘s’ and ‘Th’ sounds. Don’t wait until after they get their permanent teeth to harp on them about thumb sucking, because your child is going develop buck teeth. This problem can cause their friends to make fun of them and can cause them to have low self-esteem.

Thumb sucking can be caused by a deep-rooted problem and that could do with genetics as well. Remember that parents that use kindness and talk to their child aren’t going to get anywhere so it’s best to start a strict routine with consequences and be firm. All children are different and there is no right or wrong way to stop thumb sucking. Don’t wait too long to help your child stop thumb sucking or you are making a huge mistake. Here are some tips to help parents with kids that suck their thumb or fingers.

Try Talking

Tell your child why sucking their thumb is bad. Talking doesn’t break the habit but this helps to encourage your child to think about it. Your child might be old enough to make the decision to quit by themselves. You can talk to them about germs if they don’t wash their hands and the possibility of pinworms in their feces.


Talk to your child about how sucking their thumb can push their teeth forward which makes them look funny and they might need braces. There’s always the chance of them getting teased at school or in their neighborhood by other kids. In addition, if your child is still continuing to suck their thumb, they might have trouble with talking and sound funny when they speak.


There are some good videos on Youtube about thumb sucking. On some occasions, these videos do work for kids and they quit sucking their thumb after watching the six short videos. Sometimes kids need to hear about their bad habits from other people or educational videos before they realize they need help. Youtube is free so this is an inexpensive way to help your child see the light.

Chewy Jewelry

Amazon has something for thumb sucking that parents are using called “chewelry”, which stands for chewy jewelry. This is a good way for toddlers to stop sucking their fingers or their thumbs without losing the soothing they get from using their fingers and thumbs. There are many colors and this type of chewy jewelry is also on other sites as well and costs around 10 dollars.

Look for Trigger Thumb Sucking Times

It seems that when kids start to watch TV or fall asleep, these are their favorite times for sucking thumbs and fingers. Look for these times and ask them to help you come up with a plan to quit. Ask them why night time is a problem for them, and try using socks, bandaids, paprika, and pin their pajama cuffs with safety pins to the socks on their hands. If TV is the culprit, turn the TV off for fifteen minutes every time you catch your child sucking their fingers or thumb.

Yucky Tasting Nail Polish

Nail polish that doesn’t taste too well has worked for some kids. Nail polish is really used for stopping nail biters but they also help with thumb suckers and finger sucking as well. You might want to try different brands because your child might get used to the same brand after a few days.


If your child can make it for an hour at a time without sucking their fingers or thumb, remember to tell them you are proud of them. The more time that elapses without them sucking their thumb or fingers, keep reinforcing the facts that you are proud of them and include the rest of the family too. If you have a babysitter or nanny in the home, include them in on the praise if they notice progress with your child not sucking their thumbs or fingers.

There are many different things online for parents to look at to help your child stop sucking fingers or their thumb. Check out some of the devices and look at the reviews. This is really a hard habit for children to break so they need all of the support they can get. They also need your love and understanding.

If everything you have tried fails and your child has developed speech and dental issues, it may be time for an orthodontic device. This is quite expensive and most insurances don’t cover the device, but some do depend if it’s not for cosmetic reasons and the problems with their mouth are serious. These do work well and can correct the tongue; however, remember they do cost thousands of dollars.