Infants are naturally soothed and comforted by sucking, and most
babies suck a thumb, finger or pacifier at some point. Most kids
will stop without any help from a parent, but for some kids, thumb
sucking persists and eventually can lead to dental problems. Even
when a child wants to stop, thumb sucking can become a mindless
Here are some tips to help your child stop:
Try to get buy-in from the child. It may help to use examples
they can relate to: "Does Barney (or other favorite character) suck
Try to replace the thumb or fingers with a blanket or stuffed
animal to hug.
Give reminders: Ask "Do you know you are sucking your
thumb?" or apply tape or a Band-Aid to the thumb as a
Give a star for every day (or hour) without thumb sucking. Then
allow the child to buy a special toy with the earned stars.
If all else fails, teach your child to limit thumb sucking to
the house or the bedroom.
DO NOT be too restrictive because it can cause anxiety and have
the opposite effect.