How to Stop Sucking Fingers?

Updated on January 29, 2008
D.P. asks from Delaware, OH
5 answers

I have a 2 1/2 year old little boy that sucks his middle two fingers. It's never been too much of a problem until this winter. He is constantly sick with a stomach bug, fever, runny nose, cough, or cold. I contribute it to him putting his fingers in his mouth wherever we are before I get a chance to wash them or put antibacterial lotion on them. I have a newborn baby at home, so I'm a little concerned at what he could possibly catch from his brother as well. (RSV)

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Norfolk on

Two and 1/2 is an age where kids catch everything and anything regardless. So don't feel like you're not keeping up on the antibacterials and that he's sick because of it. He's going to get sick regardless. However, it's also a good time to start reminding him to keep the fingers out if his mouth. I found giving my 2 1/2 year old thumb sucker something to keep his fingers busy helped a lot. Little games made of paper, finger puppets (I drew on his fingers and he didn't want to 'eat the puppets'), things like that. Until the habit was "broken" - he still does it at night though.
Remember too, too much antibiotic material isn't good for kids, it's important for them to build immunities.
My advice, in short, keep tissues on hand and lots of nontoxic washable markers :)
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

my nephew who is 6 was a thumb sucker until just a few months ago. my mother in law found this stuff that you put on the nails, sort of like a nail polish, that tastes AWFUL when the child sticks it in his/her mouth. they also implemented a reward system. for every day he didn't suck his thumb, he got a sticker and once he went 1 full week with out sucking, he got a special prize, but if he did suck his thumb, he got a sticker taken away. so after after a few weeks of nasty tasting stuff and not getting stickers, he started really trying and finally it more thumb sucking. i'm sorry though, i'm not sure of the name of the stuff or where she got it, but if i talk to her i'll let you know. take care and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

hi D.!!!

my older 2 kids, ages 4 & 6, are having the same problem. they really love to gnaw on their finger & toe nails. Sylvia, my oldest, had to have an ER doctor cut off half of her big toe nail because it got infected real bad about 2 years ago. she stopped for a while after that, but recently started up again, and got her 4 y/o brother doing it as well.
at walmart, they have a product made by HOOF called Stop The Bite. its clear, comes in a little glass bottle with a red label. you paint it on finger/toe nails just like nail polish, and it tastes AWFUL!!! it stopped them from chewing on nails in a minute!!! and its cheap too, only about $3 or a little less and sold over by the nail clippers. the only thing is that you have to re-apply it every few days or else the funky flavor will wear off, and lose its effectiveness.

hope this helps!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

My first daughter had a huge problem with constantly sucking her thumb. We went through weaning her off her thumb in stages.
Stage one: Only in the house and in the car
Stage two: Only in her room and in the car
Stage three: Only in her bed and in the car
Stage four: Only in her bed
Stage five: Only in her bed when she was going to sleep
Stage six: No thumb sucking
These were all spaced out months apart. We had absolutely no problems with doing it this way at all. So, for example, in your case you would explain something like this.
Oh sweetie! Didn't you know? Two and a half year olds only suck their fingers in their house and in the car. You're a big boy now and big boys don't suck their fingers in other places. :-)
And then when he forgets, because he will:
Oh what's my big boy doing? We do that in our house and car, remember?
Hope this helps.



answers from Cincinnati on

First of all, be extremely careful of what you are putting on him and how much. It has been in the news lately about kids getting alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizers.

Secondly, the more you stress about him sucking his fingers, the more he will feel the need to do it. It's a security thing. If you are constantly telling him to not suck his fingers (even nicely), he could feel embarassed or ashamed which will cause him to need comfort and may make him suck his fingers even more. Lots of kids suck their fingers or thumbs and it doesn't necessarily make them catch any more illnesses than other kids who don't. Just make sure he washes his hands when he goes to the bathroom or gets messy like you normally would and I'm sure he will be fine. He WILL outgrow it! Hang in there! Also, make sure that other people (friends, relatives, etc) are not putting pressure on him to stop sucking too. Hope this helps!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions