Thumb sucking concerns adults and might affect the palate (roof of the mouth) or permanent teeth line up. The frequency, length, and intensity of thumb sucking affect the risk of dental problems. Many children stop sucking thumbs without intervention when they are months old. Some may continue up to the age of 2-4 years. However, it is a concern at this age, and experts recommend addressing the problem. Try the healthy ways below to stop your kid from sucking their thumb.

Fastening a thumb guard 

A thumb guard, also called a Tguard, is a device made of transparent, flexible materials designed to make thumb sucking undesirable. The FDA-approved sucking guard covers the thumb but leaves an air gap. The device has a bracelet to fasten around the wrist. A thumb guard covers a thumb but leaves an air gap, so a child prevents a child from creating suction. The feeling of comfort does not exist without suction compelling the kid to quit thumb sucking eventually.

Remember to remove and clean the thumb guard several times in the day if you choose to use it. The bracelets are disposable, so you need to replace them when you clean after physical education at school, hand washing, or other activities. You can use 1-3 bracelets in the day, so you may need to buy more in addition to the 30 that you get when purchasing the Thumb Guard. Dry the device fully as wetness can irritate the skin. The T-Guard Classic is available in three sizes for different ages:

• Small for ages 3-4

• Medium for age 5-6

• Large for 7-10-year-old kids

Quenching sucking needs

Sucking satisfies a need for attachment. Some of the unsatisfied babies can suck the thumb. Mothers to babies who love prolonged breastfeeding should let them suck to contentment during their early infancy. Breastfeeding on cue reduces the urge to turn to the fingers. Non-nutritive sucking can continue after satisfying the baby′s hunger. Sucking an empty breast, collapsible bottle nipple, or even a mother’s clean finger prevents infants from developing a habit of sucking their thumbs.

Discouragement reminders

Gently remind a child to stop sucking the thumb soon as you notice it. It is especially essential when the sucking happens without a thought and not a way of attracting attention. The method works well when the child is in a cooperative mood to prevent a power struggle and interpretation as a threat to independence. Avoid scolding or criticizing a child.

Providing early alternatives to sucking

Mothers should try alternative methods of satisfying babies with more sucking drive. Kids who get hungry quicker suck their thumb when they cannot breastfeed. Massage, rocking, singing, and playing animated games are some of the alternative ways to soothe babies. A child will seek alternatives to gratification from sucking after learning that there other ways to derive comfort.

Positive reinforcement

Praise a child or give rewards when he or she does not suck a thumb. Small gifts like reading an extra bedtime story or buying a toy will create happiness and motivation to resist sucking a thumb. Start by setting attainable goals such as an hour without sucking the thumb.

Keeping a child busy

Little kids often put their hands to the mouth when they find nothing better to occupy their attention. Find something to make a bored child active. Initiate an activity that requires both hands to distract a kid when directing the thumb towards the mouth. Create activities that make a child busy even without any attempt to suck the thumb to prevent boredom.

Negotiating a Milestone

A child who is eager to achieve goals can respond well to a milestone. For instance, you can agree that there is no more thumb sucking during a holiday or after celebrating a birthday. The habit might not stop immediately, but it makes the kid feel an urge of fulfilling the promise.