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Why Is Thumb Sucking a Hard Habit To Break?

Why is thumb sucking a hard habit to break? Concerned parents around the globe wonder about this question. Thumb sucking is often the first habit children develop during their early years. For this reason, those who regularly engage in the common behavior can have a difficult time trying to break the habit.

According to WebMD, thumb sucking is an “appropriate and useful behavior for young children.” Yet thumb sucking is also a tendency that should naturally fade away with age. When the urge or instinct becomes prolonged, parents should better understand the reasoning behind the innate desire. Let’s examine the background of this behavior closer. Here’s what to know about the prevalence of the thumb-sucking habit.

Understanding Why: The Instinct

Why is thumb sucking a hard habit to break? All things considered, the main reasoning behind the frequency of a thumb-sucking habit is simple. The answer? Natural instinct. What initially begins as an innate behavior in the womb becomes a learned self-soothing method in early childhood. The sucking sensation induces general feelings of security and contentment.

Over time, the repetitive action becomes a habit that infants, toddlers, or preschoolers turn to when bored, restless, overwhelmed, or upset. This engagement in an identifiable calming behavior is not necessarily a bad practice. However, some kids struggle with learning to cope in more structured ways. When children reach a certain age, parental intervention can help halt the habit moving forward.

When To Give the Initial Nudge

Many parents tend to overestimate the control they have over their children’s behaviors. Keep in mind that the longer time you wait to break the thumb-sucking habit, the harder the habit is to break. If children continue sucking beyond the preschools years—after age five—it’s typically prime time to take action for their oral health and comprehensive well-being. The duration and intensity of the habit could cause potential side effects to their continued growth and development.

Solutions and Tools To Stop the Habit

Deciding how to best respond to your child’s habit requires consideration of their maturity, personal motivation, and individuality. The healthcare professionals at Pediatric Associates recommend breaking the habit by balancing your child’s desire with a positive and creative solution. Healthy distractions, positive reinforcement, and other common approaches can effectively support and guide children.

An alternative is to use an innovative thumb-sucking glove device, such as the AeroThumb by TGuard, to deter the behavior with peace of mind. Learn more about our patented, FDA-listed, and clinically studied thumb guard kit on our website today.


Breaking the Thumb-Sucking Habit” from WebMD

Thumb Sucking: Breaking the Habit” from Pediatric Associates