We have all seen it, in your child or in other children.  You know the ones who are constantly chewing on things.  Be it the tops of their pencils, their shirt collars, the cuffs of their shirts, water bottle lids, water bottle tops just to name a few of the obvious.

If you are directly related to one of these “chewers”, How many times have you asked them not to chew their shirts, or pencils?  If you are like me, then probable too many times to count.  And then you turn around and see them chewing again.

The need to chew is REAL.

The need to chew is not a choice they have. They are not trying to destroy things. They just have an overwhelming need to chew to gain that sensation.

Offering an alternative to shirt cuffs and water bottles is the best way to start.  

There are two alternatives that I wanted to share with you.  

One is called Chewlery.  Please look it up on our site.  They are great. Because they are necklaces or bracelets that come in some nice colors so getting children to wear them would be easy. They offer the child the chance to chew on something when they need to.  And the chewlery can take the chewing.  So you do not have to worry about them breaking and when they are not being used for the above reason, the child can use it as a quiet fidget.  I know how thankful I am for the quiet part as many teachers do not mind fidgets just “nothing that clicks, Mrs. Gianetti!”.

Another choice, and please look this one up as it comes in so many colors and even a heart shape! It is the Chewigem and this one I think would go over well with both boys and girls.

The one I am talking about is two inch, disc, on a necklace.  I

t has a soft surface, so it makes a nice fidget as well. But it is TOUGH and can take the best of what a chewer can do to it.  The special quality is it can be tucked into the child’s shirt and taken out as needed in class.  No hunting or rummaging for it.  All the world will see is the black necklace.  But you and your child will know that this chewy alternative is there when needed.

Providing this option helps because the child can manage the need to chew by having an object that is made for the job as well as more appropriate.  And that is the thing I have learned over the years with Elizabeth.  That the items used, the words said, and the options given need to be tailored to the age of the child and thus “appropriate”.

On a bit of a serious side, in my opinion, sharing this need to chew with your speech therapist or OT can be a good thing.  Because they may be able to give you some ideas of things either they or you can do to actually help the child actually decrease the need to chew.  So, again, my opinion, but please share with your professionals but while you wait to take to them, offer the appropriate alternative.

These items are just that, appropriate alternatives for real sensory needs.

Wishing everyone a peaceful week.