Regular Contributor
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎04-07-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

I used positive reinforcement with my son who was 5 years old and starting kindergarten in a few months. He was thumbsucking almost all day. I told him if he stopped it for 30 days, I would get him a toy that he really wanted at the time. I figured after 30 days he wouldn't go back to this habit. He was so excited about getting the toy he stopped immediately and has never did it since. So proud of him for going cold turkey. After 30 days, bought him the toy!
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Posts: 129
Registered: ‎04-05-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

@LooPY wrote:

... I was a thumb sucker probably until I was six, and for what it's worth, I never even needed braces!



Same here. Other than a little bit of teasing from my Dad I don't recall my parents ever making a big deal about it (my Dad was a teaser anyway so this was really no biggie). But at age 6, just before I was to start 1st grade, they offered me a bicycle if I would quit. Guess what I chose? It was blue if I remember correctly. Cat Wink


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Posts: 128
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

I agree. They outgrow it. Don't make a big fuss over it. All mine did this and outgrew it.
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎02-08-2011

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

My daughter sucked her thumb for 3 years! she went to the sitter house at 6 months old and saw another child doing it and them started after 3 days there! I broke her habit by saying that the dentist would have to pull her front teeth out because they were sticking out too far and didn't look right. I sat her on the bathroom counter and turned her sideways to show her how they stick out so bad. She winced when she noticed and I used a tugging motion to show her what the dentist wold do to fix it! She understood and stopped from that day! She was three at the time. brought her to the dentist at age 4 and she had forgotten about my story and sat like a big girl! My BFF painted her little girls fingernails with a bright pink color. Every time she lifted her hand to suck a thumb, my friend would remind her that she would ruin the polish and have ugly nails. The little girl wanted pretty nails like mom so she stopped cold turkey. She was 3 as well and sucked a lot more than my daughter.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,846
Registered: ‎04-23-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

How about finding a new dentist?

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-19-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?


My daughter sucked her thumb, And she was 6 at that time. Peds. Denist put in a guard that you could not take out. It;'s attached to other teeth and a plate over the roof of her mouth. It cost me aout 450.00 And she could not remove it . Also the guard pushed her teeth out .Because her roof of her month is the imprint of her thumb. Then braces of course totsl was 5450.00 . Amy

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Registered: ‎12-08-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Hello Jen_RN ~ I am not going to be very popular with my answer, but here goes anyway.  I have 6 Children (all grown now).  4 had a Paci, and 1 sucked their thumb.  At your Daughters age, it is probably a comfort issue for her.  Children do experience stress, and when they do, if a thumb, or a Paci brings them comfort, I say let it be.  Mine all grew out of it when they were ready.  

If you want to change the tenor of your interactions, you must become aware of the impact of your words...Karen Casey
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

[ Edited ]

I hope you are kidding! (To the poster that replied Tobasco sauce) I too sucked my thumb for a long time. Fortunately I never had a probem with my teeth. I would tell you it was very comforting. A couple of my kids did it and I never tried to stop them. Life can be stressful even for children. Thumb sucking is not the end of the world. 

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Posts: 4,997
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

My daughter never sucked her thumb, but she did use a pacifier way too long.


Since she had a lot of other difficulties (autistic disorder and ADHD) I didn't make too much of a battle about it.  It definitely calmed her down.


However, she had more than $5,000 of orthodontia as a result.  I HEARD thumbsucking wasn't as damaging. 


If it wasn't doing any damage, I would just figure it would be outgrown and do nothing.


But, if a dentist is saying it is changing her teeth, I think I would want to gently find a way to discourage it.




Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,396
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

She is only 3, so remember her ability to understand is not as advanced as a 6 year old. At age 3 she is also easier to stop than a 6 or 7 year old. Right now it is a self-soothing habit.  By age 6 or 7 it is a habit, but they are more manipulative when trying to get it stopped.


That said, she can understand that she needs to stop because (insert some non-scary, non-threatening reason), then give her a timeline chart so she can let go of the need slowly.


It is a soothing mechanism for her at age 3. She needs a replacement soothing mechanism. Something cuddly to stroke when she feels the need to put her thumb in her mouth. Teach her stroke the fuzzy (whatever), instead of thumbsucking. Teach her a new self-soothe way, otherwise she will not be able to stop. The need to soothe is so great at her age, if there is no other behavior taught, she will be stressed out trying not to put her thumb in.


The Paper Store (I think thats the name) sells these really, really soft 12x12 squares of velour, and there are soft animal head on one corner. (sort of like a hankie with a head on one corner). My grandson used the corner of the velour to stroke his own cheek (while holding the animal head at the same time, he was clever haha) when he had to give up his pacifier. He would just rub his cheek and play with the animal's tiny ears with his thumb (you would have to see it, it was cute). Made giving up the pacifier much easier because he had another thing to do to soothe himself.


After helping her understand the need  to stop, put up a chart for short term goals. 3 days of not putting your thumb in your mouth and she can pick a prize out of the bowl (like at a Dr or Dentist office). Get stickers or small things she can pick out (not chokeable stuff).


Put more of the power and control of stopping on her, instead of trying to use threats or punishment or scary stories of what will happen if she sucks her thumb.


It is a habit, habits can be broken. Night time will totally be the hardest, because she will suck unconsciously. Some kids just have an intense sucking need, and that can still be present at age 3. If you can get the day time stopped, night will follow on its own.


It is almost like potty training, really. Rewards for not sucking her thumb, gentle reminders to take her thumb out when you see her doing it, but not punishment for doing it. And refocusing to some other way (like the soft animal head hankie) to self-soothe.


If she can keep doing 3 days (or whatever timeline she is capable of, start with 2 days if 3 is too long in the beginning and work up from there), then when she gets 7 stickers in a row, she gets to go out on a special Mom date to get pizza (or whatever you choose). A bigger 'something' than the 2/3 day pick a prize from the bowl.


If she feels in control, safe, able to soothe in some other way, it will be easier to stop her. If it becomes a power struggle you will find her under beds and in corners sucking her thumb so she won't get caught Smiley Happy


The more of a fun "big girl" thing you make it, the more involved she is in the process, her thumb will soon become just another body part fast.


By the way, I love that age. Age 3 is when you can start having the greatest conversations. Funny ones, but you can't laugh because they are so serious. My kids are all grown, but I would love to go back and appreciate how fast kids grow up.