Thumb Sucking and other habits

Being able to comfort our babies when they needs us feels like our sole purpose in life once we become parents.  Whether it is a favorite blanky, a teddy bears, a pacificiers, or their thumbs, if it helps them settle down we rely on it just as much as they do. 

In most cases, our children grow out of these habits, however, the longer they continue the more potentially negative side effects we can see develop.

We recommend stopping these habits before 2 years old. This will drastically reduce the long term effects on the growth and development of the jaws and the position of the teeth.  

How can I help my child quit thumb sucking?

Should you need to help your child end the habit, follow these guidelines:

  1. Always be supportive and positive. Instead of punishing your child for thumb sucking, give praise when he or she doesn't.
  2. Put a band-aid on your child's thumb or a sock over the hand at night. Let your little one know that this is not a punishment, but rather a way to help remember to avoid sucking.
  3. Start a progress chart and let your child put a sticker up every day that he or she doesn't suck. If your child makes it through a week without sucking, he or she gets to choose a prize. When the whole month is full, reward your child with something great (a toy or new video game); by then the habit should be over. Making your child an active participant in his or her treatment will increase the willingness to break the habit.
  4. If you notice your child sucking when he or she is anxious, work on alleviating the anxiety rather than focusing on the thumb sucking.
  5. Take note of the times your child tends to suck (long car rides, while watching movies) and create diversions during these occasions.
  6. Explain clearly what might happen to the teeth if he or she keeps thumb sucking.

If you feel as if you have tried everything with no success, don't give up! We can figure out the right strategy together!

(973) 989-9040
477 Route 10 East Building 1, Unit 2
Randolph, NJ 07869