#HELP How do I break my preschooler’s serious thumb sucking habit?

Posted in #help.

When her three-year-old son took up the thumb-sucking habit 12 months ago, this mum thought it would be a passing fad. But one year later, she wants him to take his thumb out of his mouth once and for all – but it’s turning out to be quite the challenge!

Now she’s asked our our community of experienced and helpful parents for their sage advice to address this tricky situation.

#HELP! My three year old is a thumb sucker. It’s only been for the past twelve months and the dentist tells me his teeth are fine, but it’s a habit I want to break. He has a comfort bear that he uses for sleeping and that’s the only time he actually sucks his thumb. Recently I’ve discovered him sleeping with his thumb in his mouth which is a massive no no, so I’ve decided to try and break the habit. We tried some over-the-counter stuff which made him vomit everywhere, so I need to see what else other people have tried. Help from others who are dealing with this issue would be great!

Creative solutions

My son @2 years old sucked his 2 middle fingers. I used surgical tape on his fingers – the feel of it he didn’t like on the tongue. The first 3 nights was horrible cause he cried and wanted his fingers. He didn’t want a bottle, he was fed so he just wanted his fingers to put himself to sleep. By the 7th night, he was done sucking his fingers. – Michelle Micey Lew Is 

We used a few things but on kids a little older:
One was making leather band bracelets with beads and tassels and stuff on them to use as a fidget when they wanted to suck their thumbs while awake; 
The other one, after a threat direct to my daughter about the damage to her teeth, was using sports tape around their thumbs at night so they couldn’t make a seal. 
Between the two, one stopped, the other has mostly stopped … just does it occasionally when tired or emotional – Caitlin Cole 

My daughter is 3 and we have just finally broken the habit! Like your little one, it was while sleeping with her blankie. I bought Thumb Guards online and I can’t recommend them enough! I bought two in case she decided to swap thumbs. It is now 2.5 weeks later and she no longer does it. This will be her third night without them and no thumb sucking. I know it doesn’t bother some mums, but it really bothered me. If it bothers you then definitely do something about it. Good luck!!! – Sandra Jeffrey 

Ex-thumb suckers unite

Thumb sucker here and so were all my siblings and all of us also had to have braces. I had a comfort teddy too and decided to throw it out when I was 8, and because I didn’t have my teddy I didn’t suck my thumb. My little brother was able to quit himself during the day but didn’t realise he did it at night so my parents were told to splint his arm at night so he couldn’t get it into his mouth … Worked within a few weeks! (And no. It wasn’t painful or cruel). But my older brother couldn’t and didn’t shake the habit til 15+ and had the worst dental problems of us all, so waiting for kids to grow out of it doesn’t always work. I’d say try taking away the comfort teddy first. – Kate Tomes

I’m 33 now, my parents tried everything to get me to stop. That horrible nail stuff, scare tactics etc, nothing worked. I stopped when I was 11 ? I sucked that thumb every chance I got for 11 years, my teeth are perfect, I am the only one out of my siblings that has had no dental work and no braces. I’m not saying problems can’t occur through thumb sucking but children will stop when they are ready ?‍♀️ – Louise Bedeau

My mum put socks on my hands at night and used Betadine on my thumb. I sucked off the Betadine, but socks worked (with a heavy side dish of guilt). I was 7 when I stopped and needed braces. – Carly Alexander 

Let him be

Why is this such a big deal? My child sucks her thumb on occasion and also has a dummy. I’m certainly not going to be making a big deal out of it as she gets older because the more you do, the more they try to hide it. – Natasha Sharma 

Leave him alone, in due time he will quit. My daughter sucked her thumb forever it seemed then all of a sudden, she quit. – Kendall Watkins 

My daughter sucked her thumb until she was 10 or 11 there’s really nothing you can do believe I tried but she didn’t stop your best bet is to hope he just quits but don’t torture the poor kid to get him to quit it’ll just make things worse. – Carol Clem 

You can read all the helpful advice given, on the original Facebook post here:

#HELP! My three year old is a thumb sucker. It's only been for the past twelve months and the dentist tells me his teeth…

Posted by Babyology on Monday, 22 January 2018


This post is sponsored by Nurofen For Children


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