I can’t even begin to count the number times I am asked about ways to help kids that chew. My kid chews his fingernails… My kid chews his sleeves… My kid chews everything. The problem is more common than you might think. While we love our chewable jewelry, the fact remains sometimes we have to turn to our sensory hacks for kids that chew for many reasons.
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If you have a kid that chews everything, you are most likely at the end of your rope. You are tired of buying new clothes, you are disgusted by the chewed up toys, and you are exhausted by telling your child to stop chewing their fingernails. This is a real problem and you need help!
Sensory Hacks for Kids that Chew Everything
If you do a quick search for “kids that chew” you will be bombarded with tons of things you can buy. In fact, we even have some chewable jewelry we sell in our own store that we simply love. There is definitely truth to benefits of chewable jewelry and these suggestions are not misleading.
However, if you have a child like mine that chews on absolutely everything, you might run into a few problems.
First, you might not be able to afford the multiple chewable necklaces that your child bites through, mangles, or worse loses.
In addition, if your child is like mine… they might refuse the chewable jewelry. Yep, I said it. My son actually won’t use the chewable jewelry. It isn’t for lack of trying though. We have given him round chews, skull chews, thick chews, and even chewable bracelets… but it all ends the same way… he doesn’t prefer the texture and the oral input he receives from them.
That has left us looking for as many sensory hacks as we can to provide him with oral sensory input and proprioceptive input for his jaws. Here are some of our favorites so far…
Simple items you already have around the house can be a lifesaver to offer as a safer alternative for your child’s chewing needs.
Use clear plastic tubing from the hardware store to make your own chewable version.
Sometimes simple keychains make wonderful chewable alternatives and costs only pennies.
Straws are a must have in our house. If we run out, it is back to the store for sure. We love these for doing homework or hanging out on the couch. Just chew and throw away.
Who would have thought a toothbrush would be so handy outside of keeping teeth clean? Honestly, my son loves to feel the vibration of an electric toothbrush on his gums and teeth.
We don’t go anywhere without our water bottle with a bite valve. Yes, I know its another thing to buy, but it serves so many purposes, it definitely serves as a hack for kids that chew.
Related: Sensory Hacks to Calm Angry Kids
There are a lot of fun DIY versions of chewable jewelry and chewable tools you can give you kid to give them the support they need, but also keep the shirt sleeves dry at the same time.
Make a DIY Chewable necklace out of an old sock and a few beads.
Use chewable charms to make a chewable zipper pull. This is perfect for school or on the go! No more losing your favorite chews!
Make a simple DIY upcycyled chewable necklace from on old t-shirt for kids that chew their sleeves and the tops of their shirts! (Ps. this is a small sneak peek at just one of 75 of the awesome projects in my new book coming out August 2017!)
Remember, you don’t have to get more “things” to help your child that just can’t stop chewing. Try some simple activities and sensory support to give your child exactly what their body needs!
You might find it inappropriate to chew on fingernails or pencils, however you can always replace this chewing with acceptable foods and snacks. We love a good dose of crunchy snacks such as carrots, celery, granola, trail mix and almonds.
Sugar free gum is another tool that we couldn’t live without. When we first learned about the benefits of chewing gum during school or work time, we were floored by how much it calmed our sons fidgeting.
Finally, one of our favorite sensory hacks for kids that chew everything is to increase the amount of heavy work your child is getting. I know, you might be thinking… “what does this have to do with chewing” but the truth is your child’s chewing could be a result of needing proprioceptive input and sensory regulation.
More Sensory Resources For Kids that Chew Everything
Are you still looking for more resources to help with your with their need to chew? Knowing and understanding the why behind the chewing is KEY in helping your child! I highly recommend the following links and resources to help you find answers and solutions! Remember, there are usually many reasons a child chews and understanding those signals and reasons is incredibly important.
With a sea of information out there, it’s no surprise to that printable information about sensory processing has become so appealing to our readers.
If you’re a therapist, teacher, or other professional, printable sensory resources (along with some other creative strategies) can help you effectively communicate suggestions and information to your whole team.
Parents also benefit from having easy access to printed materials so they can share information with their children’s family members and caregivers in a plain and simple way.
Sometimes the hardest part about the hunt for information is knowing where to start the journey.