When Should Babies Outgrow Thumb Sucking?

When it comes to helping our children out, one of the first things a parent should get used to is the idea of trying to stop thumb sucking. For any young one, thumb sucking can be a bit of a problem: it not only can have negative effects on their teeth, but speech and self-confidence can be rapidly hampered. For example, a child who uses their thumb all the time as a crutch to deal with anxiety will likely suffer from speech issues, an over or under bite, and potential ribbing at school if they continue to do so after a certain period of time.

Many parents, though, do not see the issue with thumb sucking. Make no mistake, though: this is a very serious issue. To know how to stop thumb sucking, you need to first understand when it should be stopped.

Since thumb sucking starts before birth – you can find many a photo of babies sucking their thumb when in the womb – it’s something they just get used to. It’s like walking to a baby; they have done it so long, it’s hard to forget about and stop doing. However, that being said, it must be stopped between the ages of 4 and 6. The closer to 4, the better.

Why Does Being Able to Stop Thumb Sucking Matter?

Why? Because a baby really starts to take form as a child dentally from the age of 4-6. For example, a child will now start to have permanent teeth coming in so regular sucking and contortion of the jaw and mouth will leave a bit of a problem for teeth which are trying to come though.

Naturally, as a parent you want to avoid such an issue from taking place. This can be a serious issue. While small, light and passive thumb sucking isn’t as bad, you should work to stop thumb sucking as quickly as you can regardless of how bad it is. To help with this, you can use all manner of techniques like positive reinforcement techniques, explaining to them it’s part of becoming a big boy/girl, and also by trying to give them a little solution to work as a halfway house.

Your child might want to instead have something to keep their attention. From a cool pair of gloves to a fun little book to be enjoyed, you can find all manner of easy ways to help your child stop thumb sucking.

Just remember that once they hit the age of 4 that you need to start making moves to stop it at source. The more you force it, though, the more they will resist. Be strategic about it; everything from reverse psychology to the excellent Glovey Huggey can offer you all the help that you need to get them to stop without aggression or any kind of disharmony.

The quicker you handle the problem, the better, so be sure to make time to deal with thumb sucking as soon as they hit 4.