Many kids do this expecially when anxious and nervous. It is a self soothing mechanism. At 7, you could have his teacher or you could hand him a straw cut in half or a coffee stirer and he could chew on that. You could string some beads on a string around his neck and he could chew on that. They make things that go on the end of pencils he could chew (and some vibrate for extra input). Etc. Basically, he is nervous or anxious and is trying to soothe. Don't get mad about it. Help him discuss what is going on and give him an appropriate outlet for this chewing. Goodluck
I tried talking to him about it and then I caught him doing it right before supper. He claims he's hungry But he had plenty of snacks before dinner then he said he was thirsty. He had a glass of milk and a juice box right beside him. Finally he told me he was bored. It ruins his shirts the one he wore today is in threads around the neck and it causes more laundry he put a clean shirt on b/c it was wet.
I don't disagree with you that it is frustrating as a parent. I hate to see the sleeve or collar of my son's shirt all wet and stretched out (yuck!).
Try to give him something else to chew on. Try the straw or coffee stirer or put a rubber bracelet on or string with beads on his wrist and see if he can chew on that instead.
It is internal that causes the chewing. When my son does it, he is not even aware that he is starting it. It is like an instict. I ask him gently when he does it if he would like something to chew on. He looks at me like "oh, I was chewing again, wasn't I" He probably doesn't know he's anxious and boredom could have something to do with it. I'd watch if other areas start to have an issue then I would take him to the doctor to talk about his anxiety. But in the meantime, try not to be mad as I said. Adults do other things (chew gum, drink alcohol, smoke, etc.) that relieve their stress. Kids suck the arm of their shirts and collars. If he gets in trouble to much for it, he will then become anxious about that!
But I do know how you feel. I have the same problem that comes and goes but I don't like it when it is happening. Good luck!!
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