Best 5 tips to break thumb sucking habit in children

Are you worried about your child's unbreakable habit of thumb sucking? Do not worry, you are not alone as it is one of the most common habits found in children. Many a time children do it subconsciously and experts believe it is a self-comforting habit. Few children develop this habit while in the womb and few as they grow up. Thumb sucking habit is to be considered normal in infants however it raises alarm if it continues beyond 2+ years. 

Let's look at few techniques to break the habit of thumb sucking:

Do not shout or scold instead explain:

As parents, stay calm about the child’s habit, try and explain the child that thumb sucking is unhealthy and unhygienic. Possibly show some pictures of kids having post effect of thumb sucking like swollen fingers, injured lips, darken nails etc.. also remind the consequences each time you find them thumb sucking.

Self-Comforting or Anxiety:

 Find out what triggers the thumb sucking, is it a self-comforting habit or due to anxiety? The child may feel like sucking the thumb when he/she is scared of going to the washroom, bed, climbing the stairs. There could be many small things making your child anxious and try to get to the root cause of the problem.

Make it taste yuck!!:

In market and pharmacy, there are many palatable liquid nail polish, oils or neem oil which will make your child thumb taste yuck!!. This trick sounds little hard but certainly discourages your child to put the finger in the mouth. This same technique will also work for children with nail-biting habits. Word of Caution: Make sure the oil /medicine is safe for your children in all aspects.

Reward, small wins!!:

All the of above techniques are time-consuming and requires a little effort. Positive parenting trick like rewarding the small win can come handy. Reward your child's effort to break the habit, rewards can be like new sticker chart, TV time, group project over the weekend etc.. But keep track of small wins and have clear rules, do not miss any. This may have the risk of your child playing back on you to seek your attention.

Hold on, it takes time:

Children with the long-term addiction to thumb sucking may need additional effort and time to get over it, however, keep yourself at peace. It's important for parents to hold on to the task and not to give up on your child as the change will not happen overnight.

Hoping these little techniques help parents who have been going through this challenge.

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