Thumb-sucking is a common habit among children. It's a comforting act for kids, especially when they are under distress. However, thumb-sucking can lead to several issues, like an overbite, misaligned teeth, and speech impediments. If you notice that your child has been thumb-sucking, it's time to step in.

Here are some tips for helping your child stop thumb-sucking.

Talk To Your Child About the Negative Effects of Thumb-Sucking

It's unlikely that your child is aware of the negative effects of thumb-sucking, so it's up to you to inform him or her. Explain to your child that thumb-sucking can hurt his or her teeth and affect the way he or she speaks. Once your child understands the consequences, he or she may be more likely to quit.

Find Out Thumb-Sucking Triggers

It's important first to figure out why your child is sucking their thumb, and then help your little one change or adapt his or her behavior. For example, if you notice that your child starts thumb-sucking when he or she gets nervous or scared about something, encourage your little one to instead squeeze a stuffed animal or confide in you.

Reward Your Child

Positive reinforcement works well for most kids. If you have noticed that your child is making an effort to stop thumb-sucking, provide a simple reward. For instance, you can take your child to the park or read an extra bedtime story at night.

Intervene When Necessary

If you see your child thumb-sucking, gently remind him or her not to do that. Don't yell or insult your child for the slip-up, as that will just make him or her feel worse.

Cover Your Child's Thumbs

Another way to get your child to stop thumb-sucking is to cover his or her thumbs with band-aids. Your child probably won't like having band-aids on and will do anything to get them off as soon as possible.

Be Patient

It's important to realize that your child probably won't stop thumb-sucking overnight. It's a difficult habit to break, so give your child some time. If you get flustered and put too much pressure on your child, it can hinder his or her progress. 

If you follow these tips, you can get your child to break the thumb-sucking habit one day. If you need additional advice on breaking the habit, talk to your local children's dental care specialist about possible treatments and techniques for you to work on.