Skip Nav
Kid Halloween Costumes
Baby's First Halloween: 82 Cute Costume Ideas For 2018
DIY Halloween Costumes
18 Creative Costumes For Expectant Mamas
Summer
Pool Floats For Pregnant Women Exist, and We Can Hear the Ladies Yelling "Finally!"

When Should Kids Stop Thumb Sucking?

Kids Should Stop Sucking Their Thumb at This Age

Thumb sucking is a very normal (and endearing) habit that forms when infants are learning to soothe themselves. Babies are born with sucking reflexes and inevitably find their fingers and thumbs (and feet!) in their mouths. However, it can turn into a tricky thing for parents to manage as children get older.

If a child doesn't give up the habit early enough on their own, it can cause permanent changes to their jaw shape and even affect speech. According to Dr. Mia Finkelston, a board-certified family physician who treats patients virtually via the LiveHealth Online app, thumb sucking "also interferes with the normal development of teeth, which makes orthodontia often necessary."

So when does thumb sucking go from being a great self-soothing device to an unhygienic nightmare? Dr. Finkelston asserted that "thumb sucking is normal in early infancy and, in most cases, disappears as the child becomes more self-sufficient and social once they reach 2 years old." She continued that you should only begin to worry once the habit "interferes with the child's functioning, whether it's physically, emotionally, or socially."

ADVERTISEMENT

If you do notice that your child is having a hard time giving up their thumb-sucking ways, it's hard to know where to even begin to help them quit. Dr. Finkelston suggests to not treat their habit as a terrible thing. "Instead of paying attention to or correcting the thumb sucking, or even punishing them for it, give attention to the more positive aspects of the child's behavior," she explained. "This will build self-confidence as well as provide the healthy attention and nurturance the child craves as they develop. A child that actively tries to restrain his or her thumb-sucking habit should be given more praise and encouragement. Talk to your doctor about strategies if you are concerned, and do not be afraid to bring this up at your child's well visits even if not asked directly."

Ultimately, each child is different, so make sure to pay attention to your child's cues for when they're ready to walk away from the habit. And just remember, no matter how dire the situation might seem, every kid does eventually grow out of this habit, and yours will too!

From Our Partners
Mom Makes Daughter Crazy Rich Asians Dress
How New Parents Can Still Make Time for Friends
My Kids Just Went Back to School, and I'm Already Over It
Non-Gift Card Gifts For Teachers
Things Divorced Parents Should Always Do For Their Kids
Joanna Gaines Best Mom Moments 2018
I Won't Let My Daughter Dress as a Princess For Halloween
Jennifer Garner's Best Mom Moments 2018
Family Opens Up About Coparenting Setup
Best Baby Carriers 2018
Parents Do Empty Nest Photo Shoot
Joanna Gaines Cell Phone Rule
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds