My 5 year old can't keep things out of her mouth... - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-24-2006, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 5. Smart as a whip, strong-willed, very chatty, very social...a real handful, in both good ways and not so good.

From the age that kids normally go through this, she's always put things in her mouth. Toys, the corners of books, glue, etc. I suppose in some ways it's better...she used to bite the tips off of markers, eat crayons...she doesn't do that anymore. But other things have persisted- mostly small toys. Now of course, she wants to play with lots of 'over-3' toys, with little bits and pieces, like Polly Pockets, or the small Lego.

I can't tell you how many times a day she'll put stuff in her mouth. It seems as if the more I point it out to her and try to get her to stop, the more she does it.

I'm at my wits end. I'm worried about choking, lead poisoning, her school mates making fun of her. Her younger brother, who is 4 (and long PAST this phase), rats her out all the time...she gets upset, because she knows she's doing something wrong, then all hell breaks loose and they fight.

I try to stay calm and not get upset when she does it, but it really bothers me. When I see her doing with it, I tell her to stop, and then I calmly take the toy away. I don't know if this is the right tactic. I almost wonder if I should give her a baby teether, something 'safe', and let her bite on that and only that. Hubby disagrees with this- he thinks we should just be persistent, NOT make a big deal of it with her, try to stay low key, and wait for her to outgrow it.

She's a normal kid in every other way. She knows she shouldn't be doing this. Maybe it's a compulsion? Maybe seeing me upset DOES make it worse, and encourages her compusion as a response to anxiety?

I dunno...HELP!!! I could really use some advice here...

Thanks mamas
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:37 PM
 
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I would suspect she is teething. Her 6 year old molors are coming in. Give her something to chew, tooth brush, straw, gum?
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Old 03-25-2006, 10:42 AM
 
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I have one of these too. Always something in his mouth, and he was always getting sick. Ugh. Finally at almost 7yrs old, he doesn't do it as often. many times ti is when he is doing something mindless, like watching TV. It drives me nuts too.
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Old 03-25-2006, 01:03 PM
 
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My five year old (now six and still going) always had and has stuff in his mouth. I for sure know that he is comforting himself. He is also outgoing, smart and a real handfull. He always has something in his mouth, often his shirt sleeves. When I was a kid and finally stopped sucking my thumb (11) in went my hair. I just think some people are more oral than others. When I notice it a lot I sometimes give him a wet washcloth to suck on at home.
She will grow out of it... lots of others do it. I think she will learn what situations are okay to do it and which aren't. My DS always is putting his pencil in his mouth and although they are no longer lead, i tell him it can make him really sick. I am amazed he hhasn't swallowed a lego piece yet., I amnot too woeeied about him choking though, he is six not two.
My Mom was really patient with me and my oral gig (although the hair chewing sent her over the edge), I was preemie and think she thought I needed it.
Hope this helps.
K

Crazed life-learning Mom to DS 1 Augustus (02/00) and DS 2 Ben (08/05). Love my DH Tony . Full house 5 11 found our "purrfect". Lovin' life!!!!
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Old 03-25-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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Ok, am I the only one NOT in the know about 6 year molars? How did I miss this? My DS was an early teether from the start and as we are having the very same issues here, I do wonder if this could be a culprit. ACK! The chewing drives me crazy! Twice a day, DS has to change his shirt because he's chewed so much on it that it's wet and uncomfortable. And when he happens to be wearing his favorite shirt, he makes himself all mad and crazy.

I think someone posted another thread like this recently and it had some good suggestions also (or at the very least more information to "chew on"). Sorry, that was bad. I'll try to find it and post a link....

Here it is:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=chewing

I'm currently downloading the link to the "chewy tube." Looks promising.

Best of luck all,
Em

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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Old 03-26-2006, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel much better, thanks mamas! I don't know why, but her behavior drives me absolutely batty. *This too shall pass* I try to tell myself, over and over. And yes, she's a clothes chewer too...anything with a turtleneck or sleeves that are too long goes in the mouth. She has literally ruined clothing this way.

I think I drive myself crazy trying to figure out *why* she is doing this...sometimes it's mindless, her head being elsewhere...and sometimes I think it is a stress response (which would explain why, when I freak out that she's doing this, she does it MORE).

I'll be glad when this phase is over.

I'm off to check out that old thread now (thanks Embee!)...because I still don't know what I should be doing about this, if anything...

Thanks again mamas
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:36 AM
 
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I drove myself crazy on my first one also. It was an after the fact (a duh momment) did I realize what was going on.
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Old 03-26-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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I highly recommend the chewy tubes. I use them with my early intervention students.

Within the past few weeks, one of my students' 5 3/4 year old sister has been constantly putting things in her mouth that don't belong. I didn't know about the molars either but I've been saying to her, "that isn't food, it doesn't belong in your mouth. If you need to chew, use a chewy." And I let her pick out one of her brother's to use.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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Old 03-26-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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Hi. I work in a first grade classroom at a public school. In two of the classes there is a child that chews things. One is usually chewing his shirts - cuffs, sleeves, neckline, etc.,. The other puts things in his mouth - pencils, erasers, pieces of paper, anything.

Both of them are anxious kids, and have other issues, so it is hard to pinpoint exactly what leads to the oral issue. But many specialists at the school (school psychologist and OT and speech therapist) say it's a common behavior, it's nothing to worry about, it's just comforting to them. A lot of teachers are up in arms about it (they say it's not safe, setting a bad example to other kids, tons of reasons) but there's not much they can really do about it.

Both kids have chewy tubes, and I think it does help. I think, personally, it's just something they did and found it comforting, and now it's a habit. The speech therapist says kids grow out of it naturally, and find other comforting habits or coping skills.

Take care!

"Home is where the heart is, no matter how the heart lives." - PP&M
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:08 PM
 
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My 5 yr old son has been putting things in his mouth since he was a baby. Thought it would stop but hasn't. He even does it at school with pencil erasers. It bothers me. Asked him why he does it and he says its because his teeth hurt. So he's teething but i'm hopeful that it will away.  

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Old 11-14-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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My 5 yo does this and  has for a long time, I give her appropriate things to use like chewy tubes, chewy necklaces, etc. She uses them at school discretely.

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Old 11-15-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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An old thread, but glad I found it.  My 3 year old has been chewing on his clothes.  He doesn't ruin them, but it drives me craaaazy!  I try not to say anything, as I know that can aggravate it, but it's so hard!  He only started a couple of months ago, and seems to do it more when he's tired or bored or upset about something.  It's so nasty, really, I may look into getting a chewy.  I never noticed that he had an oral fixation before.  I bf him till he was well past 2, and he never took a pacifier or was a thumb sucker.  I do wonder if his teeth hurt (maybe molars?)...we'll be going to visit a dentist in 2 months so can check it out then.  My other son, 6yo, had a kind of body jerk when he was younger and under stress.  He hasn't done it in a long time, but now he pulls/picks his lip.  I think anything around the mouth really annoys me, as I'm always thinking of how many germs are around...and it's such an obvious nervous habit.  But I guess you can't take away a person's nervous habit, and if you call attention to it, you may make it worse.  I know I did things that drove my mom nuts, and it only made me more determined to do them, when she called attention to it.  OP, I wonder if your daughter (now 13?) has grown out of it?  Or developed a new habit?

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