Thumb-sucking is a natural and absolutely harmless habit for babies and toddlers up to three years of age. However, starting at the age of three, if the thumb is sucked intensively and frequently, it can lead to problems with the teeth and jaw. Therefore, most dentists recommend children stop sucking their thumbs by age three.

Some children will stop sucking their thumbs on their own as they get older. Others become reliant on thumb-sucking for everyday activities like falling asleep.

There is a strong tendency to portray thumb-sucking as bad, embarrassing, or in a negative light. We believe this is not helpful and can affect your child negatively.

Therefore Anna and Dedo deals with the subject without shame or embarrassment. It takes you and your child on a journey to understand why it is worth quitting and offers some helpful tips to follow during the weaning period.

What Helps Break the Habit of Thumb-Sucking?

We are convinced that a little imagination and a great story are an excellent way of helping your child to break the habit. But there is a lot more that parents can do.

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Not surprisingly, we think a good book is the best way to discuss the topic with your child. And of course, we recommend our book Anna and Dedo.

If you’re in the mood for more stories, there are a few other children’s books on the subject. But make sure the topic is not presented in a negative or embarrassing way.

You can find reviews and short description of other thumb-sucking titles at

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Positive reinforcement

Praise your child for every step they take in the right direction. A reward calendar is a nice way to do this. You can place a star on the reward calendar every day your child doesn’t suck his or her thumb. As soon as your child receives a predetermined number of stars, they get a reward. But also make sure to maintain a positive attitude in the event of mistakes. For example, if it doesn’t work out one day, you can give half a star for effort. 

You can download a printable reward calendar here and the matching stars stickers are available on Amazon.

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No Pressure or Punishments

Forbidding thumb-sucking or punishing your child doesn’t work and is often counterproductive.

Trust your child and their ability to break the habit. Your supportive attitude will subconsciously transfer to your child.

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Visit the dentist

Communicate openly and honestly with your child regarding why he or she should stop sucking their thumb. A visit to the dentist can also be helpful because children react differently to cues from people other than their parents.

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Paint Your Child's Thumb

Painting or decorating your child’s thumb can help give their thumb an identity. You can draw a face, hair, and clothes on your child’s thumb using markers, pens, or Band-Aids.

Make sure that you only use water-soluble and non-toxic pens or markers. You can find a large selection in any stationery shop or on Amazon.

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A Superhero Costume

Design a superhero costume for your child’s thumb. An easy way to do this is by using a child-size glove with the fingers cut off but the thumb still attached.

There are also products you can buy that can easily be declared as “superhero costumes.” For particularly stubborn cases, an effective thumb-sucking prevention product (for example, AeroThumb by TGuard, or Dr. Thumb) may be appropriate. These products can be called “superhero costumes” so that they are not perceived negatively by your child

Be sure to take a look at our product reviews on Thumb-Heroes

We think it works best when you combine different methods. That is why many of these strategies also appear in our book, Anna and Dedo. In the best-case scenario, your child identifies with the main character in the book and starts trying out some of the methods by him or herself. It also gives children security as they recognize their own situation represented in the book.

And, of course, we would love to sell you a book. 🙂