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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 3.5 yo son has started chewing on his shirt when he is nervous (this started 1 month ago). My husband and I can't think of something else to teach him to do when he needs to soothe himself.

Recommendations?
 

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i would work on some basic relaxation techniques, he's definitely not too young. i do these already with my DS and he will be 2 next month.

the best to start with is just learning to take a deep breath. i do it with my kids. i say "ok, do it with me, deeeeeep breath." and then i take an exaggerated, vocalized breath. do it several times until they are calmer/less nervous. this even works when they're super upset and crying, though usually i will just hold them and say softly "deep breath" and then take some full deep breaths myself that they usually are able to help them find their breath too. these work amazingly well - my DS the other day fell and was pretty hysterical, and i picked him up and held him, and before i could even say it *he* said "deep breath, deep breath" but he was so worked up he needed me to remind him how.

i also play with them when they're *not* nervous or upset to teach them how to relax their muscles. i'll say things like "ok, make your arms like jelly!" or "make your tummy soft" or i will have them lift their shoulders up towards their ears and then drop them down. just teaching them a basic body awareness so they can start to notice themselves when they are tense and have some tools to help them relax. i try to do it a lot when they're not tense, so they have some practice so i'm not trying to introduce something new when they're all upset or nervous.

i would also say that you should perhaps gently point out to him when he's doing it - he might not even really be aware of it - and ask him how he is feeling, and try to help him talk through what's making him nervous to begin with. in the beginning you will have to do most of the talking and guess what's bothering him, of course, but once you give him the right words it will become easier over time for him to express his feelings to you.
 

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One that I've used with both my son and my students is to have them "long sit" (with their legs straight out front) and bend down and "blow out their toes like they're birthday candles". The silliness of it, the oral stimulation of the blowing, the gentle stretch all seem to combine to make a good self-soothing technique.
 

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My 3.5 yr old went through a few months of this as well - chewing on EVERYTHING - her hair, clothes (holes in shirt arms ugh!), toys...anything! It drove me bananas...I tried to distract her, direct her, offer her food, etc. but it didn't work.

She grew out of it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Momily View Post
One that I've used with both my son and my students is to have them "long sit" (with their legs straight out front) and bend down and "blow out their toes like they're birthday candles". The silliness of it, the oral stimulation of the blowing, the gentle stretch all seem to combine to make a good self-soothing technique.

this is awesome! in yoga, forward bends are often suggested for people who suffer from anxiety as they are very calming. the combination of the distraction of doing something different than what was causing the anxiety to begin with, combined with the natural soothing nature of the forward bend is so perfect! great idea
 

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a simple thing he can learn to do easily and do all the time:
have him hold one thumb in the other hand firmly until he can feel the pulse.
The thumb is a pressure point for anxiety and having himhold it until he feels the pulse makes him focus on finding the pulse and distracts him from what was making him nervous.
other pressure points:
index finger: fear
middle: anger
ring: sadness
pinky: when it is all just too much
my homeopath taught me this and it is great for grown-ups too.
 

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I'm interested in these replies. My ds1 (4 years old) puts his hands to his mouth and chews on his fingers or, sometimes if my hands are nearby, tries to put my fingers in his mouth when he is nervous or feeling shy. I've noticed it more lately. I've felt a bit helpless at his soccer practice when he does this since he's out on the field and I'm on the sides. Wondering what I can say to him. So far I've said that he should keep his hands free when he plays soccer and that even though he can't use his hands while he plays it helps him run. Not sure what else to do about it, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much. I never expected so much help.


We have started with the deep breathing. I don't know why I forgot that since it worked with my eldest. I think doing yoga with him would help too.

Thank you again for taking the time to give suggestions.

 
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