5 Sensory Strategies for Kids Who Need to Chew

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Do you have a child who tries to put anything and everything in his little mouth? Kids who are under-responsive to sensory input may seek out additional input by chewing, biting, sucking, or mouthing objects. Chewing and biting various items gives kids both tactile (touch) and deep pressure (proprioceptive) sensory input to the jaw and mouth. This input can help the child self-regulate and calm the nervous system during stressful situations. Some ideas to help with this situation are:

  1. Use a CamelBak water bottle (they have a bite valve which gives a lot of input).

  2. Provide chewy or crunchy foods throughout the day like taffy, jerky sticks, carrots, etc.

  3. Offer safe chewable tools such as chewy tubes for younger kids or chewable necklaces for older kids.

  4. Give your child a braided T-shirt necklace or bracelet – this is a great option for kids who chew on their shirt. Plus, you can quickly make one for free by cutting up an old T-shirt!

  5. Promote self-regulation with regular heavy work (activities that push or pull against the body) and movement throughout the day.

Note: Please collaborate with your child’s occupational therapist to identify safe and individualized strategies for your child.

By Sarah Alter, M.S., OTR/L

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