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6 yr old chewing - normal?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
DSD is 6 (7 in oct) and she chews on things. doesn't EAT them just chews.... books, sandles, random pieces of stuff, paper, anything.

it's not a 'pretend food' / pretend play sort of thing and it doesn't seem to be only when she is board or stressed or anything. but it seems weird to me... ds1 never was a big put in your mouth sort of kid unless it was within the scope of pretend play.

is that normal behavior for a 6yr old?
post #2 of 14
Dd1 (6 in December) chews on her clothes. She says it's because it tastes good, but I notice it more when she's stressed or nervous.

Have you asked your dsd why she chews on stuff?
post #3 of 14
It could be anutritional deficiency or a sensory issue.
post #4 of 14
Are the 6 year molars coming in?
post #5 of 14
I'm copying and pasting this from some healthy kids site I found.

I must ask you first to consider whether this behavior may be a sign of stress, or whether there are other compulsive habits as well. Has your child experienced any recent changes in her life that she may be having trouble coping with? Has this been going on a while? If you have doubts, then bring her into your pediatrician's office to address the larger picture.

If your daughter is otherwise healthy and thriving, and this is an isolated habit -- like thumb-sucking or chewing on the ends of pencils -- then here are a few suggestions. First, try to figure out if there is a pattern to why and when she is chewing. Is it when she is bored? Tired? Anxious? To get attention? If there are definite triggers, address them directly.

Second, although forbidding the behavior doesn't work (and often creates more anxiety), containing it is a fair step. Explain to her that it is unsightly, that it encourages your younger daughter to chew and brings a lot of germs into her body. If she still needs to chew, she must do so away from company, alone, in a quiet place in the house with no TV or computer. She then still stays in control of the decision, but has to decide whether it is worth it. Last, offer her a substitute for the chewing behavior. Small dolls or objects she can rustle in her pocket, a safe chain or bracelet she can twist. See if she can transfer her needs to a more acceptable habit.

As a Kindergarten teacher I see this behavior off and on all year long. My main concern is safety (metal ends of pencils) and health (who knows where it's been!). I don't normally make a point of calling parents about it unless it's a ongoing thing or a safety issue. I also have tried giving a student a spoon to suck on, or a straw to chew on, but only at "sitting" times during the day. I've come to the conclusion that they're going to do it, so I'd better have the right/safe things for them to do it with.
It could be a nervous habit. It could be an oral sensitivity. Either way, she's bringing germs into her body that shouldn't be there. In high school, we had to test pens and pencils for certain germs, as well as the lockers and the toilets. The pens and pencils had SOOOO many disgusting germs, and the toilets were actually pretty clean. (money was really bad too FYI)

I was a HORRIBLE pen chewer! I still do it occasionally. I have no Idea why I have the compulsion to do it, and I didn't stop til I was an adult and realized I put the bank tellers pen in my mouth. I made an effort from then on to stop. But, I still use my mouth like a third hand, and I really wish I could stop.

I don't think it's a bad idea to buy some of those chew tubes for her and tell her that she needs to use those instead. (explain the reasons why it's healthier) and find things that are always available to her that are acceptable objects to chew. (remember wax lips/bottles? Those were perfect for me when I was a kid)

I actually have to replace my tooth brush often because I chew on it while I'm brushing.

Chew tubes. http://www.amazon.com/Speech-Patholo.../dp/B00175ROGU
post #6 of 14
My first thought is: 6 year molars. Dd actually said to me about a week ago "I need something to chew on! My teeth itch!"

My second thought is: This is something sensory. You might want to check out: http://www.sinetwork.org/ and see if she's got other symptoms of sensory issues. If she does, then an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist who deals in sensory issues is in order. If she doesn't, it could just be something oral.

You might want to consider: Chewelry or pencil toppers that she can chew on. The extent to which she chews on things is much more than other kids, so I suspect she has a high need to chew.
post #7 of 14
6 year molars? I have never heard of those!

My 6 yr old DD started this a few mos ago (and I also had a thread on here) - chewing on her long hair and her shirts. It seems to come and go in spurts for no reason in particular, mostly when she's watching tv. The molar idea is intriguing...
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
6 year molars? I have never heard of those!
Yep, they exist. Dd's just erupted last week. I believe there's another set that comes in close to 9.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks mamas! glad to know it's not only my kid.. just weird when me boys don't do it off to look at those links now...
post #10 of 14
FWIW, DS1 (7) has been mouthing things constantly since he started getting his adult teeth. He had terrible pain teething the first go round and it's clearly similar now. The only thing that works for us is Advil, just like when he got his baby teeth.

I just keep reminding him to take things out of his mouth and medicate him when it gets to be too much.
post #11 of 14
I asked dd about teeth--when she started biting the sofa <sigh>--but she's not admitting to anything yet. Still just says it tastes good.
post #12 of 14
My 5 yr old started this last year. He has always been a thumbsucker(still is) and no that has evolved into biting/sucking his shirt, chewing on random toys, etc. I did buy him a chewy tube and he does like to use that when he can find it!
post #13 of 14
I posted this same thread a few months ago. I believe it was because of dd's six year molars. She hasn't been chewing since.
post #14 of 14
Also consider pica & talk to her doc about getting her iron stores checked. Chewing on inanimate objects is a major sign, and kids this age can be iron deficient.
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