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How to Help Your Preschooler Stop Sucking Their Thumb

How to Help Your Preschooler Stop Sucking Their Thumb at Kids 'R' Kids Tomball, preschool, daycare, childcare

Thumb sucking is a habit that starts as an infant.  Infants need the sucking reflex to soothe themselves. However, the adorable habit of that once teeny tiny babe is now concerning you now that she is a preschooler.  There are ways to help your sweet preschooler to kick the thumb habit.  

Talk to Your Child

Preschoolers love to be included in decision making and are much smarter than adults think.  Talk to your preschooler about why you want him to stop sucking his thumb.  Formulate a plan with his help.  He is more likely to be receptive to the plan, if he is involved.  


If people pay attention to your preschooler while sucking his thumb, he may be continuing to obtain attention.  Simply ignoring the behavior may cause him to stop the behavior sooner.  Try not making a big deal out of the thumb sucking and see if it disappears.  If it doesn’t disappear, try one of the techniques below.  

Positive Reinforcement

Offer your preschooler praise for not sucking her thumb.  You can also use small rewards (e.g. extra story at bedtime, stay up a bit later, trip to the park) to reinforce her progress.  Set small manageable goals (e.g. no thumb sucking during the car ride to school) and reward those goals with lots of praise!  If you’d like to keep track of her progress and reward her with a larger reward, put stickers on a calendar to track the days she is successful in her efforts of not sucking her thumb. 

Find the Cause

Most children suck their thumb as a way to soothe or calm themselves in stressful or unfamiliar situations.  If you can identify the situation which triggers the thumb sucking behavior, you can help your preschooler find an alternate way to calm.  

Remember that your preschooler is sucking his thumb to calm or soothe himself.  Punishing or scolding may cause the thumb sucking behavior to increase.  Don’t fret!  Thumb sucking will soon be a thing of the past for your little preschooler.  

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Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Tomball located in Tomball, Texas? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.