Terms like “thumb sucker” or questions like “Why can’t you stop sucking your thumb” or comments like “Don’t touch that your fingers were in your mouth!” can ruin the confidence of a child with a terrible thumb-sucking habit.
Not to mention being annoying to constantly answer why they suck their thumbs. Peers can reject children who perform abnormal behaviors, and that can begin at a younger age than we like to think.
To a certain age, pacifiers can help provide a sucking tool for children rather than using their thumb. The pacifier cannot be over-sucked like the skin on a thumb that can become damaged and even infected. Provide other habits to help distract from thumb-sucking as well such as rocking, movement, or stimulation for the hands that keep them away from the mouth.
You can use these devices for (Age 2-7) STOP Thumb Sucking, stop FINGER sucking The Hand Stopper thumb guard for thumb sucking at amazon.ca.
Provide a relaxing atmosphere that does not regularly “stress” your child into a habit like a thumb sucking that can be detrimental to their skin and teeth later on in childhood. Show and tell how the thumb sucking will damage their teeth over time, not to mention the skin on their hand. By 2-3 years old children are old enough to understand that something is “good” or “bad”. Teach thumb sucking as something they should try to avoid when at all possible.
Trying offering things like a rubber glove or Band-aids or tape to a thumb sucker, especially at night while they are sleeping and may not even know they are doing it. That covering can protect the skin from splitting open and causing pain, and the bad taste may even wake the child up so they stop the behavior altogether.
Offer incentives to older children pre-school aged or older if they go so long without YOU seeing them sucking their thumb they get a NON-FOOD reward (i.e. stickers, pencil, etc.). Most kids love to compete for prizes. If this is a problem at school or daycare gets the teachers or supervisors involved in the game. Provide rewards at home.