How to Break the Thumb-Sucking Habit Plus Free Printable!

How to Break the Thumb Sucking Habit

My Sweetheart has sucked her thumb since she was a baby.  I was thankful at the time to not have to constantly hunt for the stray pacifier, but I knew we’d get to the point where we had to kick the habit.   I held out hope that she would stop on her own, but as she approached seven years old, and her front teeth started to come in, I knew the time had arrived.

This sweet girl can be rather… strong-willed, so I knew I needed to be on top of my game.   She also LOVES her thumb sucking, so I was going to have to really motivate her.

I broke the process down into smaller steps, and found little prizes to help motivate her.

My plan:  I took a little trip to Kroger, and found several little toys (a stuffed toy and little Shopkins in a can), as well as one larger toy.

We use poker chips as rewards and payment for chores, etc, so I also included those in the mix.  The kids can cash in the poker chips for money, time on media, and trips to fun places like our local yogurt shop.  (I’m working on a post with more details about this!)

Day 1 – I put 10 chips in a cup, and told her that she’d lose one chip every time she sucked her thumb.   At bedtime, she could keep whatever was left.   Within the course of about 5 hours, the cup was empty.   Tomorrow is a new day!

Day 2 – I showed her the first toy (a small panda bear) and told her that when she could go all day without sucking her thumb, the panda would be hers!   We applied a bandaid to each thumb to serve as a reminder, since she would often suck her thumb without consciously realizing it.  She also started the day with 10 more chips in the cup.   And we made it!!   She went the whole day without sucking her thumb!   (She is still sucking her thumb at night.)

Day 3 & 4 – We reapplied the bandaids and I showed her the little Shopkins toy.   She was highly motivated and again finished out the day with no thumb sucking!

Day 5 – I forgot to apply the bandaids, but she still made it the entire day!   We are really making progress!

I am out of small toys now, but I created a sticker chart for her to keep track!   There are 17 spots on our chart, so she will have gone 21 days without sucking her thumb when we’re finished.  (I made a chart for you, and put 21 spots on yours!  Just color in any that you don’t want to use.  Right-click on the image to save it to your computer.)

Stop Thumb Sucking

She’s putting her thumbprint on the chart each night, and as soon as she has filled it up, the Shopkins toy is hers!   She reminded me at least 3 times tonight that she needed to apply her thumbprint!

Here’s to no-thumb-sucking victory!

Have you had to teach your child not to suck their thumb?  What are your best tips and tricks?