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My son is a chewer. By this, I mean that he loves to chew on things that aren’t meant to be chewed.
The irony in this is that when we adopted him at 18 months of age, his chewing skills were so underdeveloped that he couldn’t even eat solid foods unless we pureed them to the consistency of baby food. Over time, of course, he learned to chew food. And he also developed a penchant for chewing on lots of other things as well.
For months we battled with him about chewing things he was not supposed to chew. Then I recently learned about a new solution for his need to chew that has made a big difference for us.
Note: You can find more ideas for meeting kids sensory needs on my Sensory Play page.
My son’s chewing has been a source of frustration for me and my husband. This is because he often destroys things with his chewing, like the straws to his plastic cups. But no matter how much we told him not to chew, he just couldn’t help himself.
I don’t believe my son chews to “be bad.” I don’t believe his chewing is a discipline issue. I believe his chewing is a sensory processing issue. He simply has a high need to chew. However, we didn’t necessarily have a productive alternative for him to meet his need to chew without destroying things.
That is, we didn’t have a productive solution until I learned about ChewiGem chew jewelry.
Please note that this post is not sponsored. I purchased a ChewiGem after learning about it, and I am sharing information about ChewiGem only because it has benefitted our family and will no doubt be a benefit to other families as well.
ChewiGem chew jewelry is designed to look like jewelry, so kids feel good wearing it. But it is made from 100% tough, food grade silicone, so it is also safe for kids to chew.
I purchased the dog tag style of ChewiGem for my son, and he wears it around his neck. ChewiGem jewelry also comes in a variety of other styles, including raindrop pendants, skull pendants, and bracelets.
My son enjoys chewing on his ChewiGem chew jewelry. And now, when I spot him chewing on something he shouldn’t be, instead of just saying “Don’t chew on that!”, I can say, “Here, chew on this instead.”
Happy mama, happy kid.
You can find more ideas for meeting kids sensory needs on my Sensory Play page and my Sensory Play Pinterest board.
Products mentioned in this post:
This post was so helpful for me! My 7 year old has been chewing on her hair. I pull it back into a ponytail and she chews on her clothes instead. It has been driving me crazy! Now, I just bought her a pretty necklace to wear instead and she can chew and not destroy things. Thank you!
My son is autistic and used to chew on everything. I would even have to replace his shirts every 2 weeks because he would actually chew holes in them! Then I read a study linking low intracellular zinc levels to chewing and started him on a zinc supplement. He hasn’t chewed on anything since!
Oh wow, how interesting! I had never heard of a zinc connection before!
Thanks for sharing this idea! My 7 yo boy chews on everything and I am going to try these dog tags to see if that helps! I’m tired of replacing toys and pencils all the time! 🙂
Oh my! My 3-year-old is a chewer and I thought he’d grow out of it pretty quickly – but other comments seem to indicate otherwise! We have had success at redirecting as well – finding something tough (I would say indestructible, but I’m not sure that exists) for him to chew on. These may be worth a try – especially as he grows older – and are probably better than the dog toy my husband keeps threatening to buy! 🙂
My 11 year old son goes through cycles where he chews on everything. I tried so many things! He chews his clothing, small toys, pencils, straws, etc. When we discovered chew jewelry it really helped. I just have to give him reminders to use the “chew” instead of his shirt. We did figure out that his chewing is related to teething, which is why it was so prevalent when he was young and now cycles as he’s losing teeth.
Katie, these are some true useful life savers! I only wish they were around when my 15 yr old was younger! They’re actually proved useful even for my second child who does not have a chewing issue but a ‘two fingers always in her mouth’ issue! Lol! My second who’s 5 uses these to prevent the fingers in mouth. I wonder also if it would help with Thumb-Suckers as they get too old for that? They come in SOO MANy stylish options, and I have finally found some pretty colored ones (& shapes are remarkable too!), as pendants on ETSY even! LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing ;D
I knew others would be as excited to find these as I was! Thanks for sharing your experience.