The #1 Way to Help Kids Stop Chewing on Toys, Shirts, Pencils, etc.
Do chewed up barbie hands or toy car tires sound familiar? Stretched out shirt collars? Is it hard to find a pencil or straw or bottle cap without bite marks on it?
You're not alone! Chewing on non-food items is actually quite common at all ages from kids through adults. For kids, the most common things we hear are (not in any order): fingernails, fingers, hands, hair, shirts, sleeves, blankets, remotes, game controllers, toys, books, straws, water bottle caps, stuffed animals, headphones, phone cords, iPhone cases, school ID badges, pens, pencils, etc.
What do all of these items have in common? They’re all objects that kids have access to. They’re not things that are necessarily comfortable or good or safe to chew on, they just happen to be “right there” within reach.
Why do some people need to chew? It’s typically related to some kind of stress and/or anxiety. Similar to how babies mouth/chew on things to self-soothe, chewing is a calming mechanism that stays with us as we get older, more so for some people than for others.
Look at the image above for example for a quick visual. That’s a screenshot of the first images that show up when you do a Google image search of the word “nervous” - every person is either biting their fingernails or biting their lip! When we’re nervous or anxious or upset, many of us instinctually put our hands to our mouths.
It’s really important to note: kids don’t want to chew on things they’re not supposed to. They don’t want to be destructive or harm themselves or anything around them. It’s just that they have a need to chew, which means they need something to chew on.
The easiest way to help kids stop chewing on plastic, toys, and other miscellaneous items is to give them a safe alternative to use. There are lots of different options available today from the classic Grabber to chewable necklaces and bracelets to chewable pencil toppers.
Once you give someone an appropriate item to chew on - once they have something meant and designed for them to chew on - it really is a whole new world. 99% of the time you’ll find that they chew on toys, remote controllers, pencils, etc. a lot less, if at all.
Source: Ark Therapeutic
- Chenne Daig