5Yr Old Just Started Sucking Thumb

Updated on June 23, 2008
K.C. asks from Plano, TX
5 answers

Hi Ladies!
I need help. My son turned 5 in May and has recently started sucking his thumb. He never did this before. He used a pacificer as an infant but we broke him of that at 1 year old (easily). Now he constantly is sucking his thumb, chewing his fingers or biting his shirt. Any advice about why he may have suddenly started doing this or how to break him of it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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answers from Dallas on

It's a comfort thing as far as I know - if there's stress going on in his life right now, that could be part of it. I bit my nails when I was a kid, and my husband chews on his thumb when he's not paying attention. I don't think it's a big deal, but if it is a stress comfort behavior, I'd just check in with him to see what might be on his mind.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter started sucking her thumb out of the blue when she turned three. I have no idea why - we were not expecting and had not had any life changes. Unfortunately, she is 8 and still sucks it and does not seem to be embarrassed about it at all so I have just been reminding her to stop when she is sucking it during the day and trying not to worry about it. I guess she will stop when she is ready. She does not have any behavior/emotional problems.



answers from Tyler on

I see you are expecting. Congrats!

Do you think Ian is picking up on the idea of the new baby and might be using this habit as a comfort/stress relief?

I would suggest that you give him something that is "appropriate" to chew/suck on. I am not saying that your son does, but my son had an oral muscle dysfunction. He still drools sometimes at almost 8, but he used to chew on rubber toys to strengthen his muscles as well as sooth that urge to chew. This was suggested by his speech therapist.

If Ian is biting his shirt, a good alternative might be a small blanket that he can bite. He is old enough to understand if you explain to him that if he wants to bite, he can only bite the "bite blanket". This way, if it is an inappropriate time, you can take it away for later. Then you can be sure to keep it at home when school starts in the fall.

The only other thing I would suggest is to check his teeth for loose ones or even new molars growing in. Sometimes they bother enough to want to bite or suck.

I hope this helps.

P. <><



answers from Dallas on

he has a lot of new big changes ahead of him so he is trying to comfort himself. have a real talk with him about the new baby and school etc... remind him that he is still your baby even though there will be a new one soon and that he is older but that he has some great things that only older brothers can do. make a fun list of all the bigs boys only stuff. try to give him a job around the house so he can step up and he'll know that you really appreciate how big he is and that you trust him to do it. set the table, fold the towels feed the dog etc...



answers from Amarillo on

Maybe he's stressing over the new baby coming into your lives or maybe he's getting in his 6 yr old molars. They can take months to grow in and do cause discomfort off and on, chewing or sucking on things helps the big kids just like it helps a teething baby. Either way I suggest ignoring it until it passes. If you bring it to his attention or make a big deal of it he may do it even more.

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