sucking on shirt - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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my ds is almost 5, and for the past few months has the habit of sucking on the collar of his t-shirts.  I've seen other threads about this so I suppose it's common, but haven't seen many solutions.  I recognize that he likely needs an outlet to chew, whether it be for sensory or teething reasons perhaps, but dh thinks it's totally inappropriate and he just needs to magically kick the habit.

If it's relevant, he self-weaned at 18 months, was a very strong pacifier user, and I actually cut off the paci at age 2 (which I now regret, as he gave up napping as a result).

Anyone have success other than just outgrowing it? Would it be strange to give him a rag or chew toy?  I may try switching to collared shirts, since they won't get as stretched out as the t-shirts, at least, and all that plaid fabric hides the HUGE wet spots a bit better...


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#2 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 03:07 PM
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What about a teething necklace like they make for Mamas to wear for their babies? You could shorten the cord so it would fit him. Also I would set limits about when and where it is appropriate. For example. in public and when with other people the necklace hides under his shirt but he can use it in the car or when relaxing.

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#3 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 08:40 AM
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Would dad compromise if he could have something to chew suck on with limits - like at home or in his room? My dd used these for awhile and I would suggest them


She still occasionally chews her shirt, fingers, toothbrush, whatever. My ds also chews his fingers when he is really concentrating, at 6.

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#4 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 05:09 PM
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Dd1 does this sometimes, and I even recall doing it myself on certain shirts as a kid.  


For both of us I think it's a nervous habit and comes up more when we're bored or worried - I'll sometimes ask dd to grab a washcloth or handkerchief instead if it's getting to a point that I'm thinking it will ruin her shirt.  Sometimes I'll offer ice (which she's always liked to suck on).  And yeah, I'll ask her to change her shirt if there ends up being a huge wet spot, and remind her that it isn't all that sanitary to be doing it to that extent - and remind her of the other options that she's able to get herself.  

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#5 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 05:20 PM
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I don't have any advice, but just wanted to tell you that I remember my younger brother doing this when he was about that age. I'm not sure how long it lasted but he definitely grew out of it completely. So, I wanted to assure you that it's normal and he will eventually stop doing it regardless of what you do now.

I remember he always had that big wet spot on his collar and all his t-shirts were stretched out at the neck. Now it is just a cute memory, but I'm sure it exasperated my parents at the time! lol.gif
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#6 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 06:14 PM
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My 7 yr old is constantly chewing on his shirt.  He also still sucks his thumb.  For a while I got him a chew toy and he liked that but he lost it somewhere.  Oh, and by chew toy, I don't mean a dog toy, just a sensory T bar that was designed for that reason.  I probably need to find something bc he is ruining shirts.

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#7 of 9 Old 06-30-2012, 11:03 AM
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No solutions, just empathy :) Dd sucks on her shirt, her hair, anything really.  She sticks things in her mouth more now than when she was a baby (well, besides the constant nursing of course!)  I remember chewing my hair as a kid too.  I just remind her when I see her doing it that it gets spit all over and stretches out her shirt and hope for the best, but it doesn't seem to be working all that well yet.  Good luck and let us know if you find a good solution :)

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#8 of 9 Old 06-30-2012, 03:01 PM
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Mt youngest dd sucked on her shirt and chewed it too when she was 5. I finally figured out that her 6 year molars could be coming in, took a look and yeah. Got her a teething necklace like the pp mentioned and it helped, but nothing ceased the habit until the teeth were all in completely. They take a LONG time...

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#9 of 9 Old 06-30-2012, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post

For both of us I think it's a nervous habit and comes up more when we're bored or worried -

My son sucks on the neck of his shirt when he is nervous; he doesn't even realize when he is doing it.   When I saw him do it or noticed his wet shirt, I would remind him.  He just turned eight and he doesn't do it as often.  I've seen him catch himself and stop.  But at 6 and 7 he did it all the time at school.  We tried putting something in his pocket he could touch or a necklace he could fiddle with, but he still went for the neck of his shirt.


My niece is almost 9 and she sucks her hair. 

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