Thumb Sucking

How can I stop my child from sucking his thumb?
Thumb sucking is not uncommon.  Approximately 20% of children by five years of age still suck their thumb.  If thumb sucking is a rare event, it need not be treated.  However if thumb sucking is a regular problem, especially after four years of age, treatment is advised.  Methods of therapy that often work are giving rewards instead of punishments.  Bitter taste treatment applied to the thumb, dental appliance installations and simply just ignoring the thumb sucking altogether may also work.
Is thumb sucking harmful to children?
Thumb sucking can cause both physical and psychological problems for your child, if it is still regular habits after four years of age.  Some of these problems include nail infection, hyperextension of the thumb, dental problems, especially malocclusion (improper tooth alignment).
Many children may not want to be around children who suck their thumbs or may make fun of them if they do.  This may hurt your child’s feelings and/or be confusing to him or her.
Another psychological problem children may experience from thumb sucking is a too aggressive approach by parents to stop the actual habit of thumb sucking.  Remember, be patient with your child and use positive reward system instead of punishment.  Punishment for thumb sucking may do more harm to your child than the actual thumb sucking habit itself.