Have you ever found yourself wondering “how do I get my child to stop sucking their thumb?” If so, you are not alone. Children suck their thumbs as a measure of comfort in times of incomprehensible stress. Generally by the time they reach age four or five, they have developed other means of coping with stress and stop sucking their thumbs. If they persist in the behavior beyond the age of six, or you would simply like to discourage it as they grow older, there are a few methods you can use. While it is not necessarily a bad thing for them to suck their thumbs at a young age, it can be a sign of other issues later in life. If an older child continues to suck their thumb, it might be a sign that they suffer from anxiety. Additionally, prolonged thumb sucking can lead to dental issues, speech problems and self-esteem problems.
Thumb sucking is a response to stress. While you attempt to break this habit, try to limit your child’s stress in daily life. Make sure they eat enough and get enough sleep. Try to avoid punishing them for sucking their thumb, as the additional stress can cause further thumb sucking. If your child continues to suck their thumb after these methods have been tried, you might wish to consult a pediatrician or dentist about various devices and techniques you can try.