Please verify your email address to receive email notifications.

Enter your email address

We have sent you a verification email. Please check your inbox and spam folder.

Unable to send verification, please refresh and try again later.

  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can my 9 year old daughter stop sucking her thumb?

    Strategies to help my 9 year old daughter to stop sucking her thumb
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2



    HealthShare Member

    How can my 9 year old daughter stop sucking her thumb ?

  • 3


    1. DO talk to your child about her thumb sucking or finger sucking. “Help your child understand that when she is ready to stop, you will be there to help,. ”She will eventually come to you and tell you, ‘Mommy, I don't want to suck my thumb anymore,' because you've empowered her to get there."
    2. DON'T prohibit your child if he or she  tries to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. “He needs to be in his comfort zone, and by not letting him go there you're only traumatizing him more,”
    3. DO practice self-awareness with your child. “When your child is sucking his thumb, ask him, ‘Do you know you are sucking your thumb now,'” Hayes says. “If he says no, help him recognize that, and find another way to soothe if he needs it, like a blanket or stuffed animal.”
    4. DON'T use the nasty-tasting stuff that is marketed to stop thumb sucking and finger sucking. “It's just cruel,” Berman says. “It's pulling the rug out from under your child and that's not fair.” You can get used to the taste .
    5. DO come up with creative ways to help them understand that they are growing up and one day won't suck their thumbs anymore. “Ask your child, ‘Do you think Bob the Builder sucks his thumb?'” Hayes says. “Then they'll think about, and start to process whether they want to be sucking their thumbs anymore.”
    6. DON'T try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. “This will just frustrate them and cause more anxiety, ”Likely, they're old enough to just take it off, and as a result, they'll just want to suck more."
    7. DO remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when he's good and ready. “While parents may not like it, it's best left alone, ”Kids will eventually give it up." One problem is that the later the child stops thumb sucking , the more likely he will develop an orthodontic problem .

  • 1


    Jaffar Dental - Trusted and Established since 1997. We are a family owned General Dental Practice offering a friendly and caring environment in Waterford QLD. … View Profile

    Painting bad tasting varnish on fingernail of their thumb works, the chemist stock this.
    You may also like to try a plastic appliance over the thumb also purchased at the chemist/ dentist.
    There is an appliance that can be permanently placed in the roof of the mouth, you will need to contact your dentist for more info.

  • 1




    Kerry Read


    Headline Physiotherapy for the Head Neck and Jaw deals specifically with TMJ Facial Pain Headache Migraine and other musculoskeletal issues involving the cranial area. All … View Profile

    We can look at brain science to help us transition a child through this stage. Within the brain is a map which responds to the movement and feeling in different parts of our body. Thumb sucking ‘lights up’ the mouth and hand area of the map and when we prevent the activity the child just doesn't feel quite right. If we flood the hand area with input it can overflow into the adjacent mouth area and give the brain the stimulation it is craving. In our oral habit-busting program we keep the hands very busy playing with koosh balls, velvet covered pencils, silky ribbons, potty putty, worry beads etc. Items specifically chosen by the kids because they like the sensation. We've found it makes a big difference.

  • 1


    Sharon Moore

    Speech Pathologist

    I am a Speech Pathologist with 30 years clinical experience, working over the years with a wide range of clients with communication and swallowing disorders. … View Profile

    Having help from a professional trained and experienced in helping children cease an oral habit is a good idea. In addition to keeping children's hands busy, it is very beneficial to do orofacial myology retraining that provides alternative stimulation of the sensory rich areas that Kerry Read mentions. This can be acheived with tongue/lip/face exercises designed specifically to change muscle habits associated with an oral habit but also to stimulate the sensory rich area on the roof of the mouth that is stimulated through thumb sucking. Psychological support that Dr Baume mentions is also really important, as once the child understands the importance of stopping an oral habit, they are fantastic program participants, with experienced support. 

answer this question

You must be a Health Professional to answer this question. Log in or Sign up .

You may also like these related questions

Ask a health question

Empowering Australians to make better health choices