8 Home Remedies For Thumbsucking In Children: What Causes It?

Thumb sucking can often be distressing for parents, as it can be a cause for embarrassment. While younger children often suck their thumbs, the frequency reduces as they grow. However most pediatricians suggest that almost one in six children is likely to continue to suck their thumb up to the age of six years.

Causes Of Thumbsucking In Children

Conceptually, the causes leading to the condition are poorly understood. There are certain theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon,

  • In western or industrialized cultures, the young one often remains separated from the mother for prolonged duration. Separation from mother during the early formative months, triggers thumbs sucking. This is less frequently observed in cultures where mothers spend a lot of time with their young ones.
  • Thumbs sucking is also common among children with disturbed childhood. Family conflicts and stress tends to take a toll on the child. Sucking the thumb gives the child some sense of security.

Home Remedies For Thumbsucking

Here are some important home remedies and tips to help overcome this condition. Here are some behavioral tips that can promote appropriate behavior from the child,

  1. Some experts believe that allowing the child to decide it’s a problem and dealing with it is an appropriate strategy.
    Rather than forcing and telling the child what to do, it is best to allow the child to realize it on his/ her own. Like if the child gets teased for thumb sucking at school, he will bring it up and quit the behavior himself.
  2. Reward system is something that usually works. While some experts oppose this concept, it’s a concept of incentivizing good behavior. On the flip side, it may lead to the child linking all the activities/behaviors to incentives.
  3. Reverse psychology may work in some cases, especially among elder children. Explain to your child that it is not fair just to suck the thumb and the child should suck all the fingers equally. Ask your child to time and appropriately suck all the fingers equally. Eventually your child will get bored of it and give it up all together. However, this technique may not really work, especially among stubborn children.
  4. Experts usually suggest never using punishment or negative reinforcement.
  5. Some doctors suggest application of bad tasting fluid on the thumb. One the child attempts to suck the thumb, the bad tasting fluid naturally puts him/ her off. It is important that this technique should not be used as a punishment, but as a reminder for correct behavior.
  6. Getting angry or frustrated with your child is the last thing you would want to do. As a matter of fact, getting angry on the child will only promote thumb sucking.
  7. Allow the child to suck thumb in private, but discourage it in public. This way, the child will stop sucking thumb at least in public. Eventually, however, once the child spends extended duration of time in presence of outsiders, the habit will disappear even in private time.
  8. Homeopathy is relatively effective in dealing with thumbs sucking in children. Homeopathic drugs like Lycopodium and Thuja have positive behavioral effect on the child, which in turn allows the child to give up this oppressive behavior. Consult a homeopathic doctor, to help you with more accurate details.

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