My 4.5-year-old was a “nuk” baby—we had a terrible time getting rid of it at age 3 (just for naps and bedtime since age 2), but had to because it caused the roof of her mouth to be misshapen. It was by far the thing that calmed her down the most, and we really have been unable to find something that helps her stay as calm as she was when she had the nuk.
For a while she was doing OK without it, but in the last 2 mos or so she’s started chewing on her hair. Which isn’t the worst thing, except that she LOVES long hair and gets so upset when we tell her that she’s ruining her hair and may need to get it cut. (We’re not threatening her, it really is starting to look terrible and we’re starting to not be able to comb through the snarls.) I have offered to buy her something else to chew on (baby teething rings was my thought) but she just says she wouldn’t use it because she likes the feel and taste of chewing on her hair.
My first question is: how do I help her learn to calm herself better? We have tried talking to her many, many times over the years—asking for her input, providing our own suggestions, etc. She is not very open to trying other things. My second questions is: could this indicate some sort of sensory issue? If it does, how should we go about helping her manage that?