Another internet post on what to do if your elementary schooler keeps chewing on hir clothes

DC2 has always liked putting things in hir mouth.  As a baby we had to keep chokable stuff away from the floor for much longer than we did with DC1.  And there was the whole biting thing.  But zie outgrew it and we thought we were in the clear.

Then sometime in November or December, we noticed that DC2 had started chewing on hir shirt sleeves (if wearing long sleeves) and collar.  Zie didn’t want to chew on clothing.  Hir teacher didn’t want hir to chew on clothing.  We didn’t want hir to chew on clothing.

As an experiment, DC2 and I put cayenne on the top of hir (already wet) shirt to see if that would help.  Like most remedies involving cayenne, it did not.  Basically DC2’s chin started hurting from resting on it, so we aborted, rinsed off, and got a new shirt.

Next, we went TO THE INTERNET!  And found a bunch of blogposts, some sponsored, some not, from professional “mommy bloggers” talking about various silicon necklaces and singing their praises.  It turns out there’s a whole cottage industry of silicone teething necklaces (for mom), bracelets, toys, and even rings.  DC2 picked one out from amazon (note:  as always, buying stuff from amazon links gives us a little bit of money, so we’re just like those other “mommy bloggers”) that is meant for moms to keep from being chewed on by their babies.  But they had some pretty cool other shapes– I’m surprised zie didn’t go for one of the bat shapes given how popular batman is in this household.

Also the internet suggested that it might be anxiety (DC2 denied this), sensory processing disorder, autism, oral fixation and so on.  Or it might just be a phase.  I used to chew on my hair at this age but DC2 doesn’t have enough hair to be capable of doing that.  I may have had anxiety or sensory processing disorder or oral fixation (I do like kissing DH!) or who knows.  But eventually I stopped.  So if it is still happening in August at the annual checkup we might bring it up, but we don’t think it’s worth taking a doctor’s trip for given that DC2 doesn’t seem to have any other problems (other than the occasional hives).

One of the teachers at DC2’s school (who isn’t DC2’s actual teacher) told hir such things were for babies.  But DC2’s actual teacher was really happy and literally clapped her hands with happiness.  So far, no more wet shirts with pulled collars.  So yay internet!

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Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 16 Comments »

16 Responses to “Another internet post on what to do if your elementary schooler keeps chewing on hir clothes”

  1. Leah Says:

    I have some of that teething jewelry (tho can’t find my favorite necklace, grr). When our little one was big into biting last spring at almost three, I sent a bracelet with her each day. We called it her “frustration bracelet,” and it helped reduce (but not completely stop) biting other kids. We worked with her tons over the summer, and that helped more. I think she was biting due to all the turmoil at our house (new baby, dying Nana living with us, prepping for a move). She still bites rarely (once or twice a month? Maybe less), but I think she’s mostly grown out of that.

    She has started biting her nails. That’s our next challenge to tackle.

  2. rsilbergleid Says:

    Tiny Boy has such a teething necklace, because he chewed and picked at his hands (and also the shirt occasionally). We purchased it around age 4. It was a thing for a while, and helped, and we put it away. Recently HE suggested he wear it to kindergarten, due to a hands-to-self problem. I was similarly astonished–though I shouldn’t be–at what can be found and discussed online :)

  3. Miser Mom Says:

    I’ve become a wiz at mending collars and sleeve cuffs because of N-son’s (mostly outgrown now) tendency to chew on the edges of his shirts. Also, patching holed that he fidgets into his shirts. With him, it’s definitely related to ADHD stuff, and giving him alternatives helps until he loses those, which usually isn’t long. WE didn’t try other chew things — but necklaces wouldn’t have helped him socially at all. Well, especially because for him it got worse in middle school.

  4. Solitary Diner Says:

    I might need to buy myself a teething necklace. One of my bad habits is chewing on pens, which given that I work in a hospital is particularly gross.

    • Leah Says:

      I used to chew pens. Once, during organic chemistry lab, I had my pen on the bench top when I spilled NaOH. I absentmindedly put the pen in my mouth to chew. That cleared up my bad habit really quickly! I honestly haven’t chewed on a pen since.

  5. Allyson Says:

    My DS1 has some of those necklaces to avoid chewing on shirt collars – I just bought some after about a year and looks like there are more knockoffs now at a discount (all looking like Legos), which is good because the original Chewelry are all $17-20 each. For us it’s related to ADHD or SPD. Hoping the ones that look like phone cords that I sent to his class work well. These seem to be more acceptable in class than fidget toys, especially the spinners, and more effective for us. And Solitary Diner, they make a batch of teething things that stick on the ends of pens.

  6. What Now? Says:

    I’m just shaking my head in frustration at the teacher who tried to shame DC2 out of something that was helping. Why, why?

    • Leah Says:

      Because teachers are human, like all of us, and some of them are not supportive of kids’ development despite the fact that they should be. I am a teacher and am routinely dismayed at how some (not most, just some) of my colleagues treat kids. Mostly teachers at other schools, thankfully. It does make me look internally and try to evaluate if I’m unintentionally transmitting judgments to some of my students.

  7. purple Says:

    Managing stress is tough at any age. Thank you for posting again and always.

  8. xykademiqz Says:

    Smurf, who’s DC2’s age I think, went through a period of throat clearing (grunting sounds) that just about ended. They also said it could be nothing or it could be anxiety, Tourette’s, whatnot. Then it just stopped, but we did eliminate a certain sausage that he’d been eating a lot. I think that helped.

    One friend in Middle Boy’s class has permission to chew gum as it helps him focus (related to ADHD).

  9. natalieinne Says:

    My 10-year old has always loved putting things in her mouth. My problem is I have an abhorrence of hearing the sound of chewing. It sets my teeth on edge, and I can hear people chewing gum from across the room. I’m afraid if I got my daughter something like this (which she would totally love!) it would just drive my ears crazy. And I homeschool, so I can’t even off-load the sounds during the day.

  10. Cloud Says:

    Both my kids tend to chew on their water bottle sippy tops. So far, they haven’t destroyed one before the water bottle was in need of replacement for other reasons so it hasn’t been a problem. But it is good to know about the teething jewelry!

  11. First Gen American Says:

    I have one that chews his shirt collar. He used to be a thumb sucker. We just remind him to stop. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it sometimes.

    I can see now why so many people used to start smoking by middle school. It is an oral fixation that used to be socially acceptable and even cool at one point. So what’s cool that can replace nail biting and sloberimg on stuff. Seems like an invention idea.


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