My son is 8 years old. His teacher last year was upset that he was always fidgeting in class and moved his seat away from all the other children. She suggested I have him tested for ADHD. His pediatrician said he was fine as long as he was still maintaing good grades. No amount of begging the teacher would help have my son moved back with his classmates. He began chewing on his shirts to relieve some of his anxiety. By the end of the year he was chewing up many pencils a day. I have tried a stress ball as a replacement but he chewed that up also. His new teacher is fabulous but we don't know how to break this habit.
Please help, I'm afraid he'll end up with lead poisoning!
Hi. S ucking on things such as shirt sleeves or collars or chewing on things is a common thing for kids trying to self soothe. My son craves oral input to calm himself when nervous and upset. He has sensory integration disorder but this is a common thing with adhd kids and kids with general anxiety. Know any adults that often chew gum? Same thing----------- they like it not just because it tastes good but because of the action of chewing. What I'd suggest is to look for specific times he is doing this and what is going on. You might see a pattern and be able to tell what is at the heart of the anxiety and need to self soothe. Then I'd give him alternatives for it. Our school uses coffee stirrers or cut straws. They make all kinds of little tools as well-------- some slip right on the end of a pencil to chew on (some even vibrate). You can get those from somewhere like the Therapyshoppe (google that). goodluck
Specialmom has real good point about the anxiety. I think that is much more the cause. Finding out the triggers would help. Oh, and don't worry about lead poisoning, pencils have graphite in them, not lead. I've got a friend that has a worry stone - a very small piece of rock that just fits his thumb size which he always carries around to rub. Point being look for alternatives.
My son has been chewing on this since I can remember! He is grade one now and his teacher is a amazing about this chewing. The problem we both have is that she has kept everything he has chewed on and there is enough pencils to last more then a school year! I have talked to him and tried to figure out his problem, and cant come up with anything. He has also chewed on books, sleeves, shirts colars, knees of his pants, at first we thought he was teething. Just wondering if I should buy him a teething toy for home....any ideas???
Well, by the time he is your son's age, he is most likely chewing to soothe himself. Yes, I'd go ahead and invest in some other items for him to try. There are online shops that sell items---------- rubber T's and P's are common either smooth or textured. (Therapyshoppe is a source I've used). They also make items that can slip onto the end a pencil for chewing purposes. Our school gives cut straws or coffee stirrers for this purpose as well. I think I would try to work further on understanding the root cause of this action. My son chews his shirt sleeves if he is nervous, bored or upset. Do you think our son has underlying anxiety? Does he get easily upset and have a difficult time calming down? Just curious. Watch for these things later on as you will want to help him if it escalates. My son that chews shirt sleeves has sensory integration disorder. good luck
In general, chewing on pencils is greatly discouraged and considered something they call parents about when a child does this. Splinters in the mouth and other issues make it a bad choice of something to chew on. A 504 plan can allow a child to have a piece of gum instead or other chewing items that are more appropriate for he school setting.
Orally soothing is something kids do but you have to find healthy ways to do it. Grinding teeth is also a problem. Doctors fit mouth guards to stop it or to lesson the damage as it literally ruins the teeth.
They make all sorts of items for kids to use for oral soothing. And addressing the root cause of the anxiety is REALLY the key. good luck
my seven year old chews on pencils his teacher is constantly sending home notes about chewing even sent home pencils. I am at home have tried talking to him, taking things away, tried rewarding him nothing works. did not know i could by something to help gonna try that
Yes, you definitely want to find something to replace his chewing. There is virtually nothing that you can do at home (at this age) to stop the chewing. Any reinforcement has to be immediate - which cannot happen at home hours after the fact.
Do talk with his teacher and explain what you are doing so that the teacher does not take away what you have given him.
Just being curious ...does he have trouble focusing in class?
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