Thumb sucking is an act of sucking on the thumb or any other finger, exhibited by a toddler to soothe and comfort himself, wear off boredom or simply enjoy the moment. Thumb sucking is often triggered by an infant’s natural reflexive instincts. It can continue until the toddling age and result in conscious and unconscious thumb sucking episodes.


Toddlerhood is an age of  cognitive, emotional and social development. For this reason, toddlers are mostly innocent of their actions. Hence, correctional measures requires a mild  approach. Let’s explore some of the cool ways to stopping the thumb sucking habit in toddlers.

Divert his attention

Many thumb sucking toddlers resort to busy themselves with their finger because the hands are idle. A busy hand is less likely to be inserted in the mouth. Get them engaged with their toys, color pencils, exercises and other physical activities. You will discover that the finger would get more freedom.


Because thumb sucking is usually a reflex action that has graduated to a habit, most children don’t realize that they have tucked their thumb in the mouth. Awaken his awareness by asking him to show you his fingers or gently removing it from his mouth. He would gradually get used to taking charge over his body parts.

Praise his efforts

Just as showing your disapproval of the thumb sucking habit is a corrective measure, so also is showering praises at his efforts at self control. Try to praise your child at that crucial moment_ while watching tv or sitting on the potty in a lonely corner, he could have been sucking but surprisingly, is not. Praising and encouraging good habits is like employing euphemism in  prohibitions.

 They would love to keep up the praises and even draw your attention to their non sucking moments;

 Mummy! I am not sucking. Good?  

Great my Handsome!

Calm his fears and sooth his needs

Toddlers are at a crucial stage in emotional and social development. They may begin to exhibit phobia for darkness, scary images and loud sounds. A thumb sucking session may be a way to calm their nerves and resettle them. Rather than deprive them of the comfort, try replace it with a better means of relaxation for them. Cuddles, hugs, affectionate words, swaddling (if their weight would allow), swinging and others, are better ways to calm them. Also, if a baby must suck on his thumb before bedtime, a suitable bedtime routine like reading a story, bath, lullaby, swinging and massages can make him skip the sucking.

Educate him on the rights of his body parts

Toddlers are not too little to be introduced to rights. Telling your toddler the uses, strengths and rights of his body parts is a way of discouraging body abuse and impacting a sense of respect for his body. Tell him it is the tummy’s right to be fed, the teeth likes to be brushed, the hands right is to be washed and thumb feels sad to be sucked. Make the paleness of the thumb an evidence of it’s dislike for sucking. Children are so  doughy hearted that realizing the rights of their body parts can curb thumb sucking habits.

Dedicate a sign/body language for public purposes

Ever wondered why many public corrections become counter productive? It is more as a result of ego and honor stain than the failure in realizing the misdeed. Children also don’t like the scenario when corrections inspires opinions and inputs from outsiders. To ward off the likelihood of corrective action breeding an unyielding reaction, develop and dedicate a certain body language to notify your thumb sucking toddler in public. It may be as simple as a shake of the head, a waving thumb or just anything you are both used to understanding.

Let him know he can overcome it

Although they may seem obsessed with the habit, children would come to the realization that thumb sucking is not a socially acceptable habit. Help him to realize this earlier by calling his attention to his friends, siblings and favorite characters who don’t thumb-suck. Let him know that he is neither being bad nor being stuck in the habit. Encourage him to be aware of what he is doing with his fingers at every time. Most importantly, tell him he has the will to stop the habit.

Give him some time

Experts advise parents of thumb suckers to be patient enough to watch them outgrow the habit. Although it may seem tiring and annoying, toddlers would likely let go of the habit before they leave toddlerhood. However, if you’re a parents who is interested in taking certain steps to help him stop the habit, ensure to keep the measures mild and supportive. Most importantly, don’t be in a hurry to see results or expect a single approach to do the miracle.