The ace bandage has been recommended for decades by dentists to help kids break the thumb sucking habit. A 4″ wide elastic bandage can be found at any drugstore for $2 -$12 dollars. When the bandage is wound around the arm, along crook of the elbow, the bulk of the material puts pressure on the muscles and tendons, creating uncomfortable resistance as the arm is bent. The child will have to strain to keep their thumb in the mouth. At nighttime, when the child is relaxed and sleeping, thumb sucking is often involuntary. The bandage often provides just the right amount of resistance to keep the fingers away from the mouth. If worn during the day, the gentle pressure from the bandage could be helpful reminder for an already motivated child to stop sucking their thumb.
The Cons – It usually takes weeks to kick the habit of thumb sucking. Once ace bandages get bunched up and stick to themselves after a few wears or the material gets stretched or worn out. More than one bandage could be needed during the effort to kick the habit. Another challenge is wrapping the ace bandage for the right amount of resistance, but careful not to make the bandage too tight. If the bandage is too tight, it could cut off circulation. Adjusting the bandage for effectiveness and comfort could be tricky.
A different product that effectively works on the same principal, that helps stop the thumbsucking habit and is called NipIt, which is custom designed elbow sleeve that fits perfectly on children and stays in place.
Pros- An ace bandage is readily available and inexpensive. It is worth trying to see if this technique works for your child. You child may want to help wrap the bandage. By allowing them to participate in helping with the solution, they become invested in their own success.
The Ace elbow sleeve can also be for adult thumb sucking. Really, for any age that wants to find a universal way for how to stop thumb sucking, cheaply, this is a good place to start. There are definitely better options if you are willing to spend more.