19 Easy Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking in Kids – Detailed Guide

Explore the Easy Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking and support your child in breaking this habit for a happier and more confident future.

Thumb sucking habit of the little one seems cool at the start but when he grows to 4 or 5, everybody around starts to warn about social embarrassment problems and even interference with speech development, thus this habit starts irritating parents.

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex that babies do in order to self-soothe and calm themselves. However, for some kids, this habit can continue into their toddler, preschool, and even school stages. Definitely, your kid will never go to college with the sucking thumb (lol) but still, this habit is what you should care about a little to fade off in the early stages.

easy ways to stop thumb sucking in kids

Easy ways to stop thumb sucking in kids

Thumb sucking is a tough habit to break, but with time and patience, it can be done.

If you’re dedicated and motivated, there are many easy ways to stop thumb sucking, that I’ve got covered here to fix this habit quickly and easily.

1. Put Thumb Guards

Explore an effective tool to help your child overcome thumb sucking: Thumb Guards. Consider investing in a reliable thumb guard like TGuard, designed to assist in breaking this habit. With its innovative features such as air holes and a flexible body, this guard provides a comfortable experience for your child while discouraging thumb sucking.

2. Use a bitter-tasting product

Some parents apply soap, sunscreen, or other unappealing liquids to discourage their kids from continuing with the habit. I’m not sure whether it works for you, but I believe it’s worth trying at least once in your life.

The affordable and best bitter-tasting product is nail polish. Sounds weird! But I suggest putting it on your child’s thumb so he won’t be able to put it in their mouth.

3. Make them aware of the dangers

It’s never too early to teach good habits, so take this opportunity to have an effective conversation and talk about the problems that can arise from thumb-sucking.

Some key consequences that you can explain to your little one include the spread of germs. Even some kids found to stop this bad habit due to their friends’ fear (of what others will think about their bad habit) so it’s good to realize them about social bullying – this may help them want to stop.

4. Try to divert your child’s attention

For younger kids, try giving them a toy or playtime activity that will keep their hands occupied. For older kids, you can teach them how to knit or remind them of upcoming school projects so they keep busy instead of thumb-sucking.

5. Offer alternative comfort objects

Provide your child with a soft toy, blanket, or stuffed animal that they can hold and cuddle for comfort instead of sucking their thumb. This can redirect their need for soothing and provide a substitute for the thumb-sucking habit.

6. Engage in activities that keep hands busy

Encourage your child to engage in activities that occupy their hands. Keeping their hands occupied can distract them from thumb sucking.

Here’s a list of activities that can help keep kids’ hands busy:

  • Drawing and coloring
  • Playing with clay or playdough
  • Building with LEGO or other building blocks
  • Stringing beads or making jewelry
  • Folding origami
  • Playing with sensory toys, such as squishy balls or fidget spinners
  • Painting or finger painting
  • Playing a musical instrument, such as a keyboard or guitar
  • Solving puzzles, such as jigsaw puzzles or brain teasers
  • Knitting or crocheting (for older children)
  • Playing with magnetic construction sets
  • Creating with arts and crafts materials, such as paper, glue, and scissors
  • Playing with modeling clay or plasticine
  • Doing finger exercises or hand strengthening activities
  • Using a pegboard or peg puzzles
  • Playing with building toys, such as magnetic tiles or Tinker Toys
  • Engaging in DIY crafts, such as making friendship bracelets or paper airplanes
  • Playing with small building sets, like K’Nex or Meccano
  • Practicing hand-eye coordination with a ball toss or catching game
  • Engaging in fine motor skill activities, such as lacing cards or threading beads.

These activities can keep kids’ hands occupied and distract them from the urge to suck their thumbs. Encourage your child to explore different activities and find ones that they enjoy and can easily engage with.

7. Identify triggers and find alternatives

Observe the situations or emotions that often lead to thumb sucking. Once you identify the triggers, help your child find alternative ways to cope with those situations. For example, if they tend to suck their thumb when feeling anxious, teach them deep breathing exercises or provide a stress ball to squeeze instead.

8. Involve your child in the process

Engage your child in discussions about thumb sucking and its potential effects. Help them understand why it’s important to stop and ask for their ideas on how to break the habit. By involving them in the decision-making process, they’ll feel empowered and more motivated to quit thumb sucking.

9. Encourage self-awareness

Teach your child to recognize when they are thumb sucking by gently pointing it out without judgment. Encourage them to become more aware of their actions and make a conscious effort to stop whenever they catch themselves doing it.

10. Give your child support

It’s vital that you show your child lots of encouragement and support when they’re trying to break the thumb-sucking habit. You should praise them for everything they do well, whether it’s resisting the temptation or simply making an effort to stop this unconscious activity.

? Recommend Read: How to stop getting frustrated with a child?

11. Don’t let them feel bad

Your kid may feel embarrassed or ashamed if they continue with the thumb-sucking habit. Although it’s important to show him that you care about him, go let off parenting guilt and avoid making your child feel bad.

12. Don’t punish your kids for thumb-sucking  

This is indeed one of the essential and easy ways to stop thumb sucking.

Never punish your children for thumb-sucking – this could make them more likely to continue with the habit.

Avoid using negative reinforcement or punishment when it comes to your child’s thumb-sucking habit. Instead, opt for positive reinforcement and gentle reminders to help them break the habit. Remember, your approach plays a significant role in teaching your child about self-care and cultivating good habits.

13. Don’t remind them of their bad habit

Just like adults, children can get annoyed when someone keeps nagging them about something they don’t want to do. Keep reminding your child of the problems associated with thumb-sucking, but do so in a gentle way that won’t make them feel bad or resentful.

14. Don’t press your kids to stop

Although you should encourage your kid to stop doing the habit, you shouldn’t push them too hard. Refrain from making threats like “stop thumb-sucking or I’ll take away your favorite toy” – this will only make your child more likely to resist and continue with the behavior.

? Recommend Read: How to stop my SON from chewing his fingers?

15. Establish a Reward System

Create a reward system that incentivizes your child to stop thumb sucking. Set achievable goals and offer small rewards or praise each time they successfully refrain from the habit. This positive reinforcement can motivate them and make the process more enjoyable.

16. Set achievable goals

Break the habit into smaller, achievable goals for your child. Start by encouraging them to avoid thumb sucking during specific times, such as when watching TV or reading a book. Gradually increase the duration until they can go for longer periods without sucking their thumb.

17. Create a visual reminder

Use creativity to make a visual reminder for your child, such as a colorful bracelet or a sticker on their hand, as a gentle reminder not to suck their thumb. This visual cue can help them stay mindful and conscious of their habit.

18. Encourage Peer Influence

If your child has friends or siblings who have successfully stopped thumb sucking, encourage them to share their experiences and motivate your child to follow suit. Peer influence can be a powerful tool in breaking the habit.

19. Time and patience

Remember, breaking the thumb-sucking habit takes time and patience. Be understanding and supportive throughout the process. Celebrate their progress, and if they slip up, reassure them that it’s okay and encourage them to continue their efforts.


Are thumb shields good?

Thumb shields are good because they are a safe way to stop thumb sucking. They are worn on the hand to protect against further damage, and some have special flavors or other substances that make them less attractive for children. However, many experts recommend not using this product because it’s an extension of the habit instead of just stopping it altogether.

Are there any effects of thumb sucking?

There are some effects of thumb sucking on a child’s health and physical appearance. Sucking their thumb can cause problems with their teeth development, and they may also have a lisp or other speech problems. Thumb sucking can also make a child’s face look more babyish.

How long can a child safely suck their thumb?

Children can continue to suck their thumbs without any long-term problems until they are about four years old. After that, it’s best to try and break the habit so their teeth can develop in the correct way.

How long does it take for a child to stop thumb sucking using these methods?

The time it takes for a child to stop thumb sucking can vary. Some children may break the habit within a few weeks, while others may take several months. It depends on the child’s age, level of attachment to thumb sucking, and their motivation to stop. Consistency and patience are key.

Is it normal for older kids to still suck their thumbs?

While thumb sucking is more common among younger children, it is not unusual for older kids to continue the habit. Every child is unique, and some may require more time and support to break the habit. The important thing is to address the issue gently and provide them with the necessary tools to overcome it.

How can I prevent my child from feeling embarrassed about thumb sucking?

To prevent your child from feeling embarrassed about thumb sucking, it’s important to approach the topic with understanding and support. Avoid shaming or making them feel bad about themselves. Instead, focus on the positive steps they are taking to break the habit and offer praise and encouragement along the way.

What if my child resists the methods and continues thumb sucking?

If your child resists the methods and continues thumb sucking, it’s important to remain patient and understanding. Assess whether there are any underlying reasons for their resistance, such as stress or anxiety. Consider seeking professional who can provide additional strategies and support.

Should I wake my child up if they suck their thumb while sleeping?

Waking your child up if they suck their thumb while sleeping is generally not recommended. Sleep is essential for their well-being, and disrupting their sleep may cause more harm than good. Focus on addressing the habit during their awake hours through the various strategies discussed.

Can I use a reward system to motivate my child to stop thumb sucking?

Yes, a reward system can be a motivating factor for children to stop thumb sucking. You can create a chart or a sticker system where they earn rewards for each day or period of time they refrain from thumb sucking. This positive reinforcement can encourage them to continue their efforts and track their progress.


Breaking the thumb sucking habit is a gradual process that requires patience and understanding. By implementing these easy ways to stop thumb sucking, you can support your child in overcoming this habit and pave the way for a happier and more confident future. Remember to approach the process with positivity, encourage your child along the way, and seek professional help if necessary. With your guidance and support, your child can successfully bid farewell to thumb sucking and get useful habits.

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