- It can assist with attention and focus. Lots of kids are chewing on their clothes at school, because they were chewing as a way to help them pay attention.
- They have a dental issue, either molars are coming in or they have a cavity.
- Chewing is calming.
- There may be connection between not moving and chewing. The theory is our bodies need to move, expend energy, kids who are inside a lot or have trouble with movement tend to need to chew. Thus chewing releases pent up energy.
- They have a need to stimulate their jaw muscles. This is especially true of kids who eat a more soft or pureed diet.
First thing I did was take G to the dentist. Molars were coming in and guess what he did have a cavity. We got his teeth fixed, but he kept on chewing. Next I talked to his teacher, she did noticed he was chewing a lot when sitting at his desk. That's when I got it, he's chewing in the living room, where the TV and his jet videos are. He may be chewing to help his attention.
Since I believed his body was using chewing as a means of helping him pay attention, I tried to find some appropriate ways for him to chew. His favorite thing ended up being a blue chewy tube. Now that I have been at this for awhile I've seen several items that have helped parents:
Chewelry: This is a chewable coil necklace or bracelet (pictured above). Lots of kids love these because they spring when you chew on them. There is also a Mega Chewelry Necklace for kids with a stronger bite.
ChewEase Pencil Toppers (Clear Chewable Pencil Toppers): These are clear tubes that slide over a pencil that a child can chew on in class. Because they are clear they are not noticeable.
Teething Bling: The nice thing about Teething Bling is that it looks appropriate for older children to wear. I know we chose the "Camo" versions to sell at National Autism Resources because you can chew on them and the camouflage design doesn't show teeth marks like some other chewable pendants. The one bummer is its not springy. These things are made of silicon so they give a little when you bite down, but not as much as the Chewelry or a Chewy Tube.
Chew Toys: Did you know some people actually let their kids chew on animal chew toys? I worry about this because these toys don't have as rigorous testing standards. However, there are lots of chewy toys designed for babies that are good. One of our favorites is a Grab Ball. The only downside to this is they don't look appropriate for older children.