It is always better to prevent the habit to develop than to treat it afterwards. We should therefore take necessary steps in the very beginning so that the habit does not develop. For that we should know what are the main causes,  i.e under which circumstances does  the child develop the habit. We know that the habit can be either psychological or habitual. The thumb sucking habit develops when there is some psychological reason such as the child feels lonely as the parents are very busy and cannot spend time with the child or the child is under some stress or peer group pressure but cannot discuss with anybody as the parents do not have time. The child feels insecure and starts sucking the thumb. If there is some reason behind the thumb sucking then the habit is called meaningful but sometimes the habit is just habitual there is no reason then the habit is known as empty habit.

 There are various preventive measures which can be executed like

Keeping the Child Busy- Mostly

Children develop the habit when they are getting bored or feeling lonely. So try to keep child busy in some activity.If the child is busy, he will have no time to suck the thumb. Engage him in some outdoor activities like jumping rope,basketball or encourage him to persue his hobbies like coloring,painting, sketching etc. Don't acknowledge the thumbsucking, just keep him busy.

Parent’s Involvement


Parents play the major role in child’s development by providing him the secure atmosphere. If the child feels that he is loved and needed by his parents then there are less chances of developing the habit. Parents should try to spend maximum quality time with the child. He should not feel insecure or lonely at any time.

Using Physiological Nipple Instead of Conventional or Non Physiological Nipple

If the child is taking the bottle feed try to give him the physiological nipple. It is better adapted to the physiology and anatomy of sucking. In this the flow of the milk can be regulated.

Giving Them Dummies or Pacifiers

If one feels that the child has the strong desire to suck on something then give him the pacifier before he finds his thumb and starts sucking it. It is easier to dispense with the pacifiers later on than to stop the thumb sucking.   

If the habit hasn’t obviously decreased in about a month, consult your  dentist.

A final word! Never try to force or shame a child to stop a sucking habit. It is

easy to appreciate how comforting the habit can be to a child. It can be a big

help during those early dependent years. If they fail on the first try, wait a

couple of months and try again. The idea is to let them finish with the habit

before any damage is done.

Leave Comment


  • Daud Aminga

    Daud Aminga 23 - December - 2011, at 05:35 AM

  • Yes it is necessary for parents to be aware of causes and preventive measures for if prolonged,it can affect the infant's developmental milestones.

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