Thumb sucking is not uncommon for children during their early stages of life. It usually provides them with a sense of contentment, security, and can often be relaxing. You shouldn't be worried about your kid's thumb sucking because most children will usually stop the habit on their own as they grow. However, be concerned if the habit persists especially once your kid starts developing permanent teeth. That's because thumb sucking at this stage can lead to a range of dental problems. Your kid may suffer bite issues, crooked teeth and improper development of the roof of their mouth as well as the jaws. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can stop your kid's thumb sucking habit. Here are a few.

Use A Thumb Cover

Covering the thumb is one effective way to reduce your child's thumb sucking behaviour. A thumb guard, finger cot, a specialised cover for the thumb or even a bandage will do the trick. A covered thumb won't taste or feel the same as a bare thumb and this can help your kid reduce and eventually stop the habit. Thumb covers are usually effective because in most cases, kids won't be able to get them off on their own. However, since your kid may struggle to feed him/herself or play because of the covers, it's important to point out the specific times when it happens so that they only wear them during those times. Thumb sucking is usually a response to a given stimulus. You kid may start sucking his or her thumb when watching TV or sleeping. Letting your kid wear the thumb cover only during such times will give them an easy time feeding themselves or playing.

Keep in mind that there are other triggers such as exhaustion, hunger and boredom. You will need to find distractors to such stimuli. For instance, if he or she is sucking the thumb out of boredom, engage them in a game or activity that involves the use of hands.

Consider A Mouthguard

You can also visit a child's dentist and find out whether a mouthguard will help. Mouthguards can also discourage thumb sucking while preventing damage to your kid's teeth too.

You can also try other methods such as the use of a reward system. Take your time to explain to your kids some of the effects of thumb sucking. You can even consider having a dentist talk to your kid too to encourage him or her to stop the habit. You can then reward them when they don't suck their thumb. Doing this will encourage him or her to stop thumb sucking.