How to Stop Sucking Your Thumb

Babies normally suckle on a bottle or on their mother's breast. It provides food and comfort for the baby. When babies become toddlers, they usually keep this habit going by sucking their thumb. It soothes the toddler whenever they become too anxious, bored, or tired. The older you get, however, the less cute it becomes and you will want to learn how to stop this behavior. Let's look at some tips you can use to stop it from being annoying.

How to Stop Sucking Your Thumb (for Older Kids)

1.   Replace with Another Behavior

If a thumb is "bored", it is more likely to end up in the mouth. You need to distract yourself so that you can do something else besides sucking your thumb. If you find yourself sucking your thumb, find something else to do with your thumb such as playing the "hide the thumb" game, squeezing the thumb, drawing a picture or doing anything you like. These will help turn a bad habit into a harmless habit.

2.   Find Out What the Trigger Is

Try to find out which things trigger you to suck your thumb and avoid those things. If it is from fatigue, stress, or boredom, you need to find out the stressor and think of something else to do besides sucking your thumb. When you know your triggers, you will learn how to stop sucking your thumb effectively.

3.   Try Show And Tell

Take a look at yourself in the mirror and look at your front teeth. Remind yourself that you will look like Bugs Bunny if you keep sucking on your thumb. Remind yourself that you have good-looking teeth already and don't want to ruin them by pushing unnecessarily on them during the act of sucking on the thumb.

4.   Give the Thumb a Rest During Sleep

Most of the severe cases of overbiting happen in those kids who suck their thumb while sleeping. You need to stop doing this and instead occupy your hands with a teddy bear to hold onto, a book or toy to hold onto, or a blanket to hold onto. Try singing lullabies at night and play these lullabies all night long on a never-ending loop of music that will keep you comfortable enough not to suck your thumb during the night.

5.   More Handy Tips

Besides what have been mentioned as to how to stop sucking your thumb, here are some handy tips for you as an older kid to consider:

  • Use your willpower. You know you want to stop it, so think of some kind of reason why it is a good idea to stop. Remember, it will look embarrassing if you still suck your thumb at your friend's sleepover.
  • Be prepared. Keep drinks sitting on your end table by your bed so that you can sip on during the night when you wake up with a dry mouth or want to suck your thumb.
  • Put a sock on your thumb. You can put a sock on your thumb to keep you from sucking on it or else tape a cotton ball on your thumb before going to bed. You can even put a Band-Aid on the thumb or wear gloves—anything to remind you not to suck on it. These are all good ways how to stop sucking your thumb.
  • Take away a pillow or stuffed animal. If the smell of these things will remind you that you want to suck your thumb, remove these from your bed and you will be less tempted to suck your thumb.
  • Purchase a thumb stopping kit. These are available on the internet and can help you stop sucking your thumb. Steer clear of those that offer a flavored liquid to the thumb as these can be simply washed off.
  • Try something bitter. Put something bitter or too spicy on your thumb, such as hot sauce or paprika. You won't want to suck your thumb with those on the thumb.
  • Put the thumb beneath your pillow. With your thumb under the pillow, you will effectively keep yourself from putting it in your mouth at night.

However, Avoid These Things

There are also some things you shouldn't do if asking "How to stop sucking your thumb".

  • Don't make everything into a confrontation. In other words, don't make an ultimatum and tell yourself you can't suck thumb anymore. Instead, praise yourself for when you aren't sucking their thumb.
  • Don't stop yourself when having an injured thumb. Stopping sucking the thumb isn't the right time when your thumbs are already injured. 
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