Ever since my son was a baby, he has been a chewer. Sure, most babies go through a phase of putting non-food items in their mouth (this often is a sign of teething – here are some great teething remedies), but my son took it to the next level. As a baby, he would constantly chew on his pacifiers and hands. As he has gotten older, his affinity to have something in his mouth constantly has evolved into him nibbling on his shirt, his backpack strap or a random toy he finds around the house. What can you do to stop toddler chewing fingers? Read on!
Why Do Kids Chew On Their Hands and Toys?
Kids chew for a variety of reasons, but typically, they are seeking some type of sensory output that they aren’t getting otherwise. If you have a school-aged child that chews and you are sick of asking your little one to “stop chewing _______”, this article is for you! Here, I’ve listed some wonderful options that you can implement today to help your child get the sensory output he’s craving, but in a more acceptable and sanitary way.
1.) Chewable Jewelry: AKA “Chewelry”
Chewable jewelry is exactly what it sounds like: chewable necklaces and bracelets that safely satisfy a child’s new to chew. There are all types of options out there for both boys and girls, and aside from looking cute, kids can chew the item whenever they urge strikes. A quick google search offers loads of ideas, but this Amazon link has some of my favorites.
2.) Chew Tubes
Chew Tubes are fantastic in the sense that they offer a resilient chewable surface that holds up extremely well. They are safe and can be used to help redirect problem chewing behaviors and to strengthen the jaw.
3.) Pencil Toppers
Pencil toppers are a fantastic choice for the student that chews pencils and/or pens! These toppers typically fit any number 2 pencil and are often times socially acceptable – a big win for school aged kids.
It sounds so simple, but offering gum to my child when he was in a chewy mood has been a game-changer. I understand that not all parents want their children to have gum, so only offer it up if it aligns with your parenting philosophy! My 6-year-old son often times feels the need to chew but doesn’t want to chew anything that looks “different,” for fear of being picked on. I buy him sugar-free mint gum and give him a piece whenever he asks for it.
Again, offering up a straw to chew on has been a huge parenting-win for my husband and I. Whether we are out for a meal, driving through a coffee shop or just hanging out at home, straws are pretty readily available and cheap. While not the most environmentally friendly option, I only use this option in a pinch.
How to Stop Toddler Chewing Fingers? Give Them Alternatives
As you can see, one of the best ways to help stop your toddler chewing fingers is to give them alternatives. Eventually, your child will grow out of this habit, and giving them better options is a great way to help ease this transition.