How to Get a Toddler to Stop Thumb Sucking

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Children engage in thumb sucking for a variety of reasons. While one child may suck his thumb when he feels fearful or insecure, another may suck her thumb when she is tired or sick. The bottom line is that thumb sucking is a comforting and calming habit that most children grow out of on their own, often during the toddler years. If your toddler sucks his thumb and you are trying to get him to stop, there are a few methods that you may want to try.

Step 1

Distract your toddler when he is sucking his thumb. A flyer published by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development suggests supplying your toddler with something that will occupy both his hands, such as a game or puzzle,

Step 2

Apply a product to your toddler’s thumb that deters the thumb sucking habit, such as an over-the-counter liquid that gives the thumb an undesirable taste.

Step 3

Try positive reinforcement. Babyzone recommends using encouraging words with your toddler and praising her whenever you notice that she is not sucking her thumb. You may also want to point out what a big girl she is each time she is not engaging in thumb sucking.

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