Toddlers Thumb Sucking Habit & How To Stop It

Most children usually stop thumb sucking between the ages of two and four, especially as they become more "busy" and more active in exploring, playing, and learning. Early kindergarten or pre-school age can also be a catalyst for them to voluntarily limit this behavior, especially if the habit is mentioned by other children. You can also help your child quit thumb sucking through various online sources.

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If you still feel that your child needs help stopping thumb sucking, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce this behavior. They include:

Praise, don't pressure

Don't tell your child off for thumb sucking. Instead, praise them when they have periods of not putting their thumb in their mouth. 

Reward non-sucking

You can offer a reward if your child is very good at avoiding thumb sucking. This could be a sticker for a prize chart, a tiny toy or treat like swimming, or another activity your child will enjoy.

Offers comfort

Comfort your kid if they seem afraid or are in a situation you need to worry about – for example, a vaccination, a visit to the dentist, or the first day at a daycare center. This will help relieve the need for thumb sucking to calm down.

Distraction technique

When you can spot key moments when your little one has a tendency to suck their thumb, try to distract them from this habit. For example, if they suck a lot of thumbs during their bedtime story, ask them to turn the page.