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  #1  
Old 08-29-2013, 04:23 AM
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Default 4yo Chewing Clothing?

He has a lovey 24/7 at home, and chews that the second he has it. I only allow loveys at nap, so he has replaced the lovey with his shirt.

If it were MY kid, he would be required to go change his shirt each time he chewed it but dcm doesn't want to do that (laundry)

I have also suggested to Mom that he have something appropriate he CAN chew on, but DCM says that's gross (yep, like his saliva soaked shirt and lovey aren't.) After nap his lovey is SERIOUSLY WET, enough so that I have to plastic bag it DAILY.

Have asked the pediatrician AND the dentist, both say there is no physical reason for it. He doesn't have sensory issues, speech delay, isn't teething, etc.

He also still mouths toys, but those are easily removed.

Yesterday he was able to chew a hole in his shirt in under 30 minutes (circle time). That is WITH me stopping after each activity (calendar, weather, song, book) to remove his shirt.

HELP!
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:28 AM
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What is it with kids chewing on clothes? Nobody ever did that when I grew or when I was raising my kids. Why do parents allow it to start? I don't get it.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:45 AM
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It sounds like anxiety to me. When my daughter was 4 she started sucking her thumb out of no where. She never even did that as a baby. Took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with situational anxiety. She is very close to my dad and his wife, but she moved out and they got divorced. So the grandma she grew up with disappeared and she hasn't seen her since. She stopped about 2 months later. But whenever her anxiety gets really bad I notice her doing that or something else.

As for him, I can only imagine how gross that is. I don't mind a little but how your explaining he is spreading germs everywhere.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:03 AM
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That's gross and unsanitary.

If mom isn't taking it seriously give her some options:

Susie, I don't change 4 year olds but it's unhygenic to leave him in a spit soaked shirt. So what would you prefer? If he can't change himself you will need to come and change his shirt or you will need to provide bibs for him.

At 4 I wouldn't give him a lovie if he was going to chew it. Jim, Lovies are for snuggling not eating. As soon as that goes in your mouth you lose it. Then repeat until he stops chewing it. Once chance a day. Or ban Lovies.

Same with toys. If a toy goes in your mouth at 4 you lose the right to play with it. Perhaps give him some fidget toys that keep his hands occupied.

Your house your rules. If you require a new shirt she needs to provide them or you will for a fee. She's doesn't want to change his shirt because she's fine with you doing extra work but doesn't want extra work for herself. Put the extra work back on her. If she doesn't want extra work then she needs to work with her child on his emotions and behaviors. If there is no physical reason he's doing it then I'd put money on emotional, maybe anxiety issues.

Susie, I'm concerned about the shirt chewing. Jim will be starting school soon and you know how mean kids can be. Did the doctor give you any ideas on how we could work to help him with this behavior?
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:05 AM
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One of my son's was a shirt chewer. He eventually stopped on his own. I think it was just a nervous habit; a de-stresser.

I like the idea of finding something he can chew on. Question is, what? A teething toy on a pacifier strap seems most appropriate (if anything is "appropriate). You could prompt him to wash it every time he washes his hands.

Nothing is going to be ideal, but I think trying to stop him is unrealistic and frustrating for both of you. It seems to be a need of some sort right now.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:22 AM
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At 4 I wouldn't give him a lovie if he was going to chew it.
Same with toys. If a toy goes in your mouth at 4 you lose the right to play with it.


I tell the kid he can't play with toys other kids share (everything in the house) if he's covered in spit and that usually stops the behavior before it turns into a habit
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:30 AM
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I purchased a bag of abilitations chewlery braclets. Dd is a thumb sucker nail biter clothes chewer at age 4. The braclets really help with keeping her senses fulfilled, she doesn't put harmful stuff in her mouth and I can disenfect it easily. I use it for any kid now that auto matically puts stuff in their mouth.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:49 AM
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https://store.schoolspecialty.com/OA...minisite=10206
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:58 AM
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That is company I used. I bought a pack if seven bracelets off amazon for $28
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:29 AM
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I have chewelry for another child in care, he will only chew fabric.

He is allowed to chew the lovie 24/7 at home. If I remove it, he will NOT nap.

His parents arent nearly as grossed out as I am.

I pulled old shirts of my son out & have had him change 4x already today. Its 90m into his day!!
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:34 AM
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They have chewys that come in fabric! They sometimes have an animal on them too
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:36 AM
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If he won't nap give him quiet activities or call for pickup. The chewelry company has absorbable fabric chews too. I would not be changing a 4 year old that often or for that type of reason. It takes too much time away from everyone else. If you want things to change you have to be firm & put it back on the parents otherwise nothing will change. They know you are it happy but unless there are consequences for them they will keep doing what is convenient for them ie. you dealing with the mess, sanitizing of toys, extra clothes, extra laundry.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NeedaVaca View Post
They have chewys that come in fabric! They sometimes have an animal on them too
I will be getting some! No idea they made them! He will have to have it clipped to his shirt (a pp said paci clip, sounds the easiest) and every attempt at hewing will be redirected to that.

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If he won't nap give him quiet activities or call for pickup. The chewelry company has absorbable fabric chews too. I would not be changing a 4 year old that often or for that type of reason. It takes too much time away from everyone else. If you want things to change you have to be firm & put it back on the parents otherwise nothing will change. They know you are it happy but unless there are consequences for them they will keep doing what is convenient for them ie. you dealing with the mess, sanitizing of toys, extra clothes, extra laundry.
Oh, I agree. This is the only issue I have with this family, good kid, good parents. unfortunately the calls aren't coming in for me to just term, either and I don't want to push the envelope.

I do NOT want him in a wet shirt (soaked down to his belly button) all day. I can't believe his mom is ok with that! HE changes himself, I do nothing but tell him to go change his shirt and there is a small stack in his bathroom cubby.

My dh says a bib, but I am afraid that parents will find that shaming. They are adamant he be a 'man' 'big kid' etc.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:47 AM
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It is no more abnormal than thumb sucking, tag rubbing, fuzzy picking, hair twirling or paci use is.

It's a self soothing/anxiety reducing behavior. I would never punish, shame or restrict a child for or from something like that.


If you feel the need to do something, ask the child if he needs a hug in those moments. Because that's all he is seeking and getting from doing what he's doing with the chewing. The chewelry is a great idea too. They do make fabric ones.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Willow View Post
It is no more abnormal than thumb sucking, tag rubbing, fuzzy picking, hair twirling or paci use is.

It's a self soothing/anxiety reducing behavior. I would never punish, shame or restrict a child for or from something like that.


If you feel the need to do something, ask the child if he needs a hug in those moments. Because that's all he is seeking and getting from doing what he's doing with the chewing.
While I agree to a certain extent (this is pretty extreme, all stuffed toys, dress up clothing, he will even chew other children's clothing if they are near him) He has chewed his car seat straps to the point that they are frayed. (not even going there about how loose they are and how dcp's aren't replacing them)

it is ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY. I cannot constantly hug him. He is also NOT an affectionate child, even with his parents.

He does it 24/7, here, home, grandmas, all the same. So 24/7 anxiety?
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:57 AM
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While I agree to a certain extent (this is pretty extreme, all stuffed toys, dress up clothing, he will even chew other children's clothing if they are near him) He has chewed his car seat straps to the point that they are frayed. (not even going there about how loose they are and how dcp's aren't replacing them)

it is ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY. I cannot constantly hug him. He is also NOT an affectionate child, even with his parents.

He does it 24/7, here, home, grandmas, all the same. So 24/7 anxiety?
Yes.

I'd absolutely believe that could be the case.


His lack of affection at 4 is textbook for attachment disorders which commonly leaves kids chronically anxious.


That you mention his parents are into the "be a man" bit when he is only 4.....that's a bucket load of pressure right there.

If you cannot or do not want to support him through his anxiety then it is best you term, but if I were in your shoes I'd certainly talk to the parents about getting him help before you part ways.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:59 AM
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His parents should take him to a therapist. It could be really beneficial to him.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:03 AM
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Ok, I'm going to throw something out there.... I was actually that kid that used to chew on their sleeves. Any thing long sleeved was either shredded or had holes. I also chewed on my teddy bears scarf, hat and nose. It was a coping method for me. It lasted long enough that I remember it well. I still have a hoodie from middle/high school that has the ends of the sleeves shredded. It was an anxiety thing I think. Almost like when people suck their thumb or bite their nails. I did have severe sensory issues and was early onset bipolar and suffered from depression and anxiety at an early age. I don't necessarily think it was a terrible thing, but I also understand how it helped me get through the day for some reason. My mom tried all kinds of things. It didn't help. Its no different than someone biting their nails, so maybe approach it the same way? Idk..
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:08 AM
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Yes.

I'd absolutely believe that could be the case.


His lack of affection at 4 is textbook for attachment disorders which commonly leaves kids chronically anxious.


That you mention his parents are into the "be a man" bit when he is only 4.....that's a bucket load of pressure right there.

If you cannot or do not want to support him through his anxiety then it is best you term, but if I were in your shoes I'd certainly talk to the parents about getting him help before you part ways.
This exactly.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by daycarediva View Post
I have chewelry for another child in care, he will only chew fabric.

He is allowed to chew the lovie 24/7 at home. If I remove it, he will NOT nap.

His parents arent nearly as grossed out as I am.

I pulled old shirts of my son out & have had him change 4x already today. Its 90m into his day!!
How about a cheap pack of washcloths from the dollar store?


I would try very hard to put as much responsibility on him as possible. Show him when the wash cloth gets too wet, he needs to go here...., and here is where the clean ones are. Then, send them home with mom to wash each night.

Just before kindergarten would definitely be the time to get rid of all of it, if possible. Obviously, they wont let him go to Kindy with a pile of chewies. or, maybe they would, if he has anxiety. Schools are much more willing to accommodate things now-a-days. With all the behavioral issues they deal with (just like us), I'm guessing needing to chew is pretty minor.

Hopefully, this oral stuff will fade by then.

Also, he probably wont nap there, so the blanket should probably disappear before that anyway. For that, it would be really nice if the blanket "accidently" stared ripping into littler and littler pieces.

My nephew never had a pacifier (or thumb) because my sister had such a hard time getting rid of it with her first. Throughout his early years, until about 10, it would take him forever to eat because he would suck on his food forever. He did outgrow it though.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:38 AM
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I will be getting some! No idea they made them! He will have to have it clipped to his shirt (a pp said paci clip, sounds the easiest) and every attempt at hewing will be redirected to that.



Oh, I agree. This is the only issue I have with this family, good kid, good parents. unfortunately the calls aren't coming in for me to just term, either and I don't want to push the envelope.

I do NOT want him in a wet shirt (soaked down to his belly button) all day. I can't believe his mom is ok with that! HE changes himself, I do nothing but tell him to go change his shirt and there is a small stack in his bathroom cubby.

My dh says a bib, but I am afraid that parents will find that shaming. They are adamant he be a 'man' 'big kid' etc.
http://www.autism-products.com/Produ...ctCode=1326337
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:47 AM
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It's a self soothing/anxiety reducing behavior. I would never punish, shame or restrict a child for or from something like that.
as much as I can understand that, I still cannot allow "older" kids to get drenched in spit and roll with the rest of the kids! It is unsanitary (why washing hands so frequently) and would most definitely cost me some families

together we can find other soothing alternatives
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:58 AM
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This is awesome! Great idea to still allow him his relief and save his clothes and your sanity and peace of mind
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:00 AM
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He is also NOT an affectionate child, even with his parents.
I had a kid that didn't like being touched at all let alone hugged and kissed...whenever we played games that called for physical touch, he would stand at a distance and just watch us with a big smile on his face (he was a playful happy kid) it took me months before I was able to give him a hug (I ask if it's ok) but the feeling I would never forget
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:23 AM
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I 100% agree with Willow. Sounds like an anxiety thing and something he does to relieve stress.

Considering the comments made about his parents, it also seems very fitting.

I would allow him to chew his lovey at nap time. Remove it after nap.

Bag it, and have mom/dad launder it and bring back the next day fresh for use

As for the shirt chewing, I couldn't care less if mom does or doesn't want to do laundry....she is going to have too.

When the child's shirt gets wet, it gets changed.

I would NEVER supplement my own child's clothing for this child's parent as her unwillingness to meet her child's needs is exactly part of the reason he kid is stressing in the first place.

I would require her to bring x amount of shirts per day and then change when necessary.

I would NOT agree to just leave him as he DESERVES to be clean and dry. period.

No negotiations.....bring enough shirts or stay home.

HER choice.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:24 AM
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Yes.

I'd absolutely believe that could be the case.


His lack of affection at 4 is textbook for attachment disorders which commonly leaves kids chronically anxious.


That you mention his parents are into the "be a man" bit when he is only 4.....that's a bucket load of pressure right there.

If you cannot or do not want to support him through his anxiety then it is best you term, but if I were in your shoes I'd certainly talk to the parents about getting him help before you part ways.
What are other symptoms of anxiety or attachment disorder? He is a perfectly normal 4 year old, with perfectly normal, loving parents. He honestly has the most 'normal' family in care (extended family are active in his life, his parents live together and are happily married) By not overly affectionate, I mean that he doesn't constantly hug/kiss and will do so 1-3x a day on his own but if someone comes up to him to hug him he says "no thank you" and walks away, myself included. He isn't aggressive, no separation issues. He says he misses parents, etc. They DO hug/kiss him.

I AM willing AND able to help and support him, which is why I posted it here and really do not want to term. He is a SWEET kid, very smart, very verbal, NO real behavioral issues. Plays well, has AMAZING self help skills, has been here two years, says he loves me and misses me every Monday morning, etc.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:31 AM
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What are other symptoms of anxiety or attachment disorder? He is a perfectly normal 4 year old, with perfectly normal, loving parents. He honestly has the most 'normal' family in care (extended family are active in his life, his parents live together and are happily married) By not overly affectionate, I mean that he doesn't constantly hug/kiss and will do so 1-3x a day on his own but if someone comes up to him to hug him he says "no thank you" and walks away, myself included. He isn't aggressive, no separation issues. He says he misses parents, etc. They DO hug/kiss him.

I AM willing AND able to help and support him, which is why I posted it here and really do not want to term. He is a SWEET kid, very smart, very verbal, NO real behavioral issues. Plays well, has AMAZING self help skills, has been here two years, says he loves me and misses me every Monday morning, etc.
The comment about him needing to be a "man" really says a lot about how his parents feel and their parenting philosophies.....

Also the fact that mom won't or doesn't want to wash "so much laundry" (kids' shirts are hardly an entire load) says a lot too.... their child has a basic need and she doesn't want to do a bunch of laundry.... LOL!!
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Willow View Post
It is no more abnormal than thumb sucking, tag rubbing, fuzzy picking, hair twirling or paci use is.

It's a self soothing/anxiety reducing behavior. I would never punish, shame or restrict a child for or from something like that.
Yup, and also like chewing fingernails. My 4 yo nephew does it but I won't allow it here at daycare for the sanitary reasons. He grabs the collars of his shirts and lifts them up into his mouth. I'd say pretty much all of his shirts are loose around the neck and bulge in the front from him doing this. It's so gross. I just gently remind him that he's doing it and he drops his shirt ... "____, you're chewing"- followed by a smile - he usually says oops and stops and then giggles. It'll just be a constant repetition of reminders to get the behavior to improve then stop altogether.

For my nephew giving him something else to do helps. He chews when he's excited (playing an exciting game of hide and seek with kids outside for example) or when he's having difficulties with something like when he's concentrating (doing a hard puzzle). I also immediately see him grab his shirt and chew when my SIL scolds him. He does it a lot because he needs to use the bathroom a lot and gets UTI and bladder infections alot (I've recommended that he see his Dr and be checked for a weak bladder too) and sometimes he doesn't always make it to the bathroom. His mom scolds him for it. It's like he's fine, has to go to the bathroom and has a little accident because he didn't make it, comes out and tells his mom, his mom says something like "Dang it ___ . Did you pee your pants again?!" and then immediately grabs his shirt and chews. Then it's "STOP CHEWING ON YOUR SHIRT!" And she wonders why he does it so often.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:17 AM
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The comment about him needing to be a "man" really says a lot about how his parents feel and their parenting philosophies.....

Also the fact that mom won't or doesn't want to wash "so much laundry" (kids' shirts are hardly an entire load) says a lot too.... their child has a basic need and she doesn't want to do a bunch of laundry.... LOL!!
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:18 AM
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Yup, and also like chewing fingernails. My 4 yo nephew does it but I won't allow it here at daycare for the sanitary reasons. He grabs the collars of his shirts and lifts them up into his mouth. I'd say pretty much all of his shirts are loose around the neck and bulge in the front from him doing this. It's so gross. I just gently remind him that he's doing it and he drops his shirt ... "____, you're chewing"- followed by a smile - he usually says oops and stops and then giggles. It'll just be a constant repetition of reminders to get the behavior to improve then stop altogether.

For my nephew giving him something else to do helps. He chews when he's excited (playing an exciting game of hide and seek with kids outside for example) or when he's having difficulties with something like when he's concentrating (doing a hard puzzle). I also immediately see him grab his shirt and chew when my SIL scolds him. He does it a lot because he needs to use the bathroom a lot and gets UTI and bladder infections alot (I've recommended that he see his Dr and be checked for a weak bladder too) and sometimes he doesn't always make it to the bathroom. His mom scolds him for it. It's like he's fine, has to go to the bathroom and has a little accident because he didn't make it, comes out and tells his mom, his mom says something like "Dang it ___ . Did you pee your pants again?!" and then immediately grabs his shirt and chews. Then it's "STOP CHEWING ON YOUR SHIRT!" And she wonders why he does it so often.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:24 AM
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What are other symptoms of anxiety or attachment disorder? He is a perfectly normal 4 year old, with perfectly normal, loving parents. He honestly has the most 'normal' family in care (extended family are active in his life, his parents live together and are happily married) By not overly affectionate, I mean that he doesn't constantly hug/kiss and will do so 1-3x a day on his own but if someone comes up to him to hug him he says "no thank you" and walks away, myself included. He isn't aggressive, no separation issues. He says he misses parents, etc. They DO hug/kiss him.

I AM willing AND able to help and support him, which is why I posted it here and really do not want to term. He is a SWEET kid, very smart, very verbal, NO real behavioral issues. Plays well, has AMAZING self help skills, has been here two years, says he loves me and misses me every Monday morning, etc.
Attachment disorders aren't always the result of being poorly parented. And anxiety disorders in children are notoriously difficult to diagnose.

I too appeared perfectly normal, happy and intelligent on the outside, while on the inside I was one big ball of tightly knotted and frayed nerves. I was a nail biter, and was frequently reminded how disgusting my coping mechanism was. That did not make things any better.


As a provider you have to decide what you can and can't deal with. A child chewing on his shirt or other items is no grosser to me than a baby who drools all over themselves, their clothes and on toys. If you don't feel the same way that's ok, but if you're trying to help him I'd really suggest MV's very gently approach
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:25 AM
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Attachment disorders aren't always the result of being poorly parented. And anxiety disorders in children are notoriously difficult to diagnose.

I too appeared perfectly normal, happy and intelligent on the outside, while on the inside I was one big ball of tightly knotted and frayed nerves. I was a nail biter, and was frequently reminded how disgusting my coping mechanism was. That did not make things any better.


As a provider you have to decide what you can and can't deal with. A child chewing on his shirt or other items is no grosser to me than a baby who drools all over themselves, their clothes and on toys. If you don't feel the same way that's ok, but if you're trying to help him I'd really suggest MV's very gently approach
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:33 AM
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It is no more abnormal than thumb sucking, tag rubbing, fuzzy picking, hair twirling or paci use is.

It's a self soothing/anxiety reducing behavior. I would never punish, shame or restrict a child for or from something like that.


If you feel the need to do something, ask the child if he needs a hug in those moments. Because that's all he is seeking and getting from doing what he's doing with the chewing. The chewelry is a great idea too. They do make fabric ones.
I agree. One of my kids did it. She still does it sometimes at 9. It's frustrating (especially since she's the biggest, so I need to pass down clothing and it's not fair to her sisters), but what can you do. She is not doing it on purpose. Do you punish kids who bite their nails or suck their thumbs also? I agree it's gross. Children are sometimes gross. It comes with the territory
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:42 AM
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The comment about him needing to be a "man" really says a lot about how his parents feel and their parenting philosophies.....

Also the fact that mom won't or doesn't want to wash "so much laundry" (kids' shirts are hardly an entire load) says a lot too.... their child has a basic need and she doesn't want to do a bunch of laundry.... LOL!!
Ah the 'be a man' comment. They call him 'little man' and I catch myself doing it, too. In some ways he IS a little man. Wise, calm, patient, he is also fiercely independent and VERY proud of doing things for himself. He broke one of my solar lights outside kicking it earlier this year-picked up early and didn't want to stop the activity- and his Dad said to him right in front of me "When you grow up and become a big man, you can't do those things. Lets fix this for Miss ****, and man up and say sorry." and the little guy did. It's never like "Suck it up and be a man." or said meanly or down to him, it's very much a nick name and affection thing.

As far as Mom with the laundry, she works 2 jobs and Dad doesn't do laundry. So it would add up over the course of a week. She even said she isn't so sure he has enough shirts. It IS an inconvenience, as children usually are.

I do laundry everyday, and honestly tossing his things in with the daycare hand towels won't be a big issue.


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Originally Posted by Willow View Post
Attachment disorders aren't always the result of being poorly parented. And anxiety disorders in children are notoriously difficult to diagnose.

I too appeared perfectly normal, happy and intelligent on the outside, while on the inside I was one big ball of tightly knotted and frayed nerves. I was a nail biter, and was frequently reminded how disgusting my coping mechanism was. That did not make things any better.


As a provider you have to decide what you can and can't deal with. A child chewing on his shirt or other items is no grosser to me than a baby who drools all over themselves, their clothes and on toys. If you don't feel the same way that's ok, but if you're trying to help him I'd really suggest MV's very gently approach
It makes me sad to think that there could be so much inner turmoil or issue. He is quite verbal, maybe I'll pull out my Joy Berry books and get him to talk and see if there is something bothering him or if there is anything I can do.

I NEVER shame or scold him. I have tried "Oops, bud looks like your shirt is in your mouth again." and he says "I know, I put it there."

I don't have babies in care, and he is quite more mobile than a drooling infant. His shirt becomes so wet it's saturated and laying on things, (he loves to lay on the floor and build) make the floor visibly wet. Definitely a sanitary issue.

Today before lunch he went into the bathroom to go potty and changed his shirt by himself. I didn't tell him to, and he didn't say anything to me about it. He put his shirt in the daycare hamper and went back to music time without a word.

Maybe giving HIM more control of it and allowing him the option to change? (a cold, wet, shirt doesn't look very comfortable) and saying NOTHING to him about it might help? Goodness knows Mom and Dad have tried the reverse. Mom and Dad have been not saying anything and taking his shirt out of his mouth (or lovey) whenever they see him do it. It's been over a month with that technique and we have seen no noticeable improvement.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:51 PM
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I think the preschool year are frightening to a child in and of themselves. They are learning and feeling so much more than tired, hungry, sad, mad and happy.

They are experiencing anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, self-consciousness, self-awareness, perspective thinking, decision making, apprehension, worry, frustration, boredom, confidence, guilt, etc etc...

THAT is ALOT of new emotions and feelings and half the kids can't even name those emotions so I can see why just being a preschooler is stressful enough on it's own.....it's enough to make me chew on my clothes

TOTALLY get what you are saying though about the little man thing and his intelligence. My son sounds similar.

My son is really smart too and struggled emotionally and mentally while trying to fit into a world he didn't know well and maneuvering into independence can be frightful sometimes to kids smart enough to worry about "big kid" stuff....

I'd either try to have mom go buy a cheap package of Hanes Kid's Tees ($5 for a 5 pack maybe ??) and use them.

As for dad not doing laundry.... I think his wife needs to let him know that the washer and dryer are not picky about which sex loads it, adds soap and pushes the button. I am pretty sure he can figure it out.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:36 PM
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I don't think its that uncommon. I used to do that as a kid (chew on the front of my shirt), and have seen some kids do that too. I'm not really sure why I did it and now when I think about it my front teeth feel sensitive and it kinda makes me lightheaded/nauseous (I imagine its the same thing as when some people hear drills and their teeth hurt).

He may not have sensory issues per se, but it could be a sensory thing where it gives him comfort to do that because it has a similar texture to his lovey. He's probably so used to his lovey being his security blanket that it has become a nervous habit to chew on something. So when he is without it he will try to find a substitute, even if it wasn't this it would probably have develop into another habit like sucking his thumb, biting his nails, or chewing on something else (pencils/pens, toys, gum).

He will most likely grow out of this phase but it may develop into another habit such as nail biting, face touching, finger/joint popping, or other types of fidgeting. Maybe you can try to find another outlet for his nervous energy- like having a little note pad he can carry around and doodle in when he feels nervous or one of those bubble pop key chains http://thatslikewhoa.com/popping-bubble-wrap-keychain/
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:32 PM
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I think the preschool year are frightening to a child in and of themselves. They are learning and feeling so much more than tired, hungry, sad, mad and happy.

They are experiencing anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, self-consciousness, self-awareness, perspective thinking, decision making, apprehension, worry, frustration, boredom, confidence, guilt, etc etc...

THAT is ALOT of new emotions and feelings and half the kids can't even name those emotions so I can see why just being a preschooler is stressful enough on it's own.....it's enough to make me chew on my clothes

TOTALLY get what you are saying though about the little man thing and his intelligence. My son sounds similar.

My son is really smart too and struggled emotionally and mentally while trying to fit into a world he didn't know well and maneuvering into independence can be frightful sometimes to kids smart enough to worry about "big kid" stuff....

I'd either try to have mom go buy a cheap package of Hanes Kid's Tees ($5 for a 5 pack maybe ??) and use them.

As for dad not doing laundry.... I think his wife needs to let him know that the washer and dryer are not picky about which sex loads it, adds soap and pushes the button. I am pretty sure he can figure it out.
Yes bc! That makes so much sense. This is a child who understands rules and is VERY precise, so he may be holding it in as far as behavior, expectations, etc and feeling anxiety about it. I really have NEVER had to tell him something twice. He has a hard time with change, and summer has seen three vacations, his parents went on a cruise and he stayed with grandma, and 2 of 'my' kids are going to K. One he is best buddies with. He DEFINITELY understands that he won't be here for outside free play. Ugh.

Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to make you think about things differently.

He was a late talker, but he never displayed any of the frustration, and when he started to talk, it was short sentences. He watches/observes and then does it perfectly. I just LOVE this little guy.

I just sent dcm a text about the hanes tees. I offered to wash them here with our hand towels (wash nightly anyway, what's 5 shirts?)

LOL with the washer/dryer. Her dh broke the dishwasher (overloaded it with REGULAR dishsoap. It was everywhere and burned out the motor somehow.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:40 PM
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My kid is a shirt chewer. It helps a ton if he wears tight tight tight fitting shirts and no shirts with long sleeves. Target sells compression shirts for a very reasonable price. He has anxiety and adhd so he chews as an outlet.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:54 PM
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I didn't read all of the posts.
My son chewed his blanket and then his shirt collars when he was younger. Yes sometimes they would get wet and he would have to change. It comforted him. I guess I don't understand what the huge deal is? If the wetness is an issue are you willing to give him an appropriate item to chew? cheap washcloths or the chew fabric bracelets seem like a good idea.
Btw my son does have ADHD but otherwise is a normally functioning kid- just what he did for a bit.
And I would agree a bib would be over dramatic to the situation...
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:29 AM
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since everyone says its a disorder, I think its a habit. And now its a habit that is hard to break. At first it may have been child dealing with anxiety (which is normal) but now its become a habit. Its a habit because now the child has to have something in their mouth ALL THE TIME.

also, I don't understand how some of you say its not a big deal. Its gross and being wet breeds bacteria and the smell, omg it stinks too (I've had chewers here) it really smells bad.

to me, it now sounds like the child doesn't know what to do, he's chewing out of boredom and habit.

I had a little girl who would suck her thumb, all day long and rub her nose with her finger at the same time. Her thumb was blistered and her nose had a rub marking everyday. Every time I saw her with her thumb I would take her thumb out. I starte to notice that she was doing it because she was bored and habit, but when she was playing she wouldnt
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:39 AM
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At first it may have been child dealing with anxiety (which is normal) but now its become a habit.
also, I don't understand how some of you say its not a big deal. Its gross and being wet breeds bacteria and the smell, omg it stinks too (I've had chewers here) it really smells bad.
I agee
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:11 AM
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since everyone says its a disorder, I think its a habit. And now its a habit that is hard to break. At first it may have been child dealing with anxiety (which is normal) but now its become a habit. Its a habit because now the child has to have something in their mouth ALL THE TIME.

also, I don't understand how some of you say its not a big deal. Its gross and being wet breeds bacteria and the smell, omg it stinks too (I've had chewers here) it really smells bad.

to me, it now sounds like the child doesn't know what to do, he's chewing out of boredom and habit.

I had a little girl who would suck her thumb, all day long and rub her nose with her finger at the same time. Her thumb was blistered and her nose had a rub marking everyday. Every time I saw her with her thumb I would take her thumb out. I starte to notice that she was doing it because she was bored and habit, but when she was playing she wouldnt
I dont know- my sons never smelled. No one touched his shirt collar. But he also didnt soak it regularly. I find it to be less troublesome germ wise than fingers in the mouth.
Sometimes I feel like coping actions become habits when adults make a big deal of it. When it is constantly drawing attention it gives it the power to be something it originally wasn't. In my experience when it is ignored/not commented on it disappears once they no longer need it. Obviously as providers we can't control that at home but I have never had a big fight with any dck or my own about giving up comfort things because they just do it when they are ready.
But that's just my experience.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:48 PM
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My little brother who is now 22 would always chew his sleeves up until about 12 years old? He's in college now, very energetic and social, and happy. He was diagnosed with ADHD put he functions fine as a young adult now. I just figured he was stick in the oral fixation phase. If the child is chewing on cloths I would recommend giving him at least organic cotton with no dyes and washed with clear detergent. There are so many chemicals that go into making clothing, it can't be good if he's sucking all of these chemicals out. Amazon sells organic cotton, it's used for cloth daipers, but it can be used for anything else
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:53 AM
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I see a few different sides to this.

First, obviously he can't go to school chewing on his shirts. I honestly don't think they are going to tolerate him having to change shirts multiple times a day. Especially since his doctor says nothing is wrong. Now, if his doctor had diagnosed an anxiety problem, that may be different. But you have been with him for two years. If you really believe he is a well adjusted little boy, then go with your gut.

If that's the case, there are a few other options:::: a sensory disorder OR a habit

If it were a sensory disorder, I would think you'd see it in other areas, but possibly not.

That would leave a habit as the most probable option, at least that's what I'm thinking.

If I truly in my gut thought this was a habit thing, I'd come up with a plan with mom to break is habit before he starts school. Mainly because if it IS just a habit, what if the school pushes for a psych diagnosis which isn't true and he gets onto a diagnosis train and in the wrong direction. I've heard of schools locally purposefully encouraging a psych diagnosis just to get extra state money. That wouldn't do him any good. Especially if he really doesn't have a psych diagnosis.

That being said, my approach would be to make his chewing less desirable, while not being verbally against it. Give him other sensory outlets that are acceptable. If he doesn't chose any of them, then that would support habit and not sensory.

Have mom and dad let him go without a shirt for a three day weekend and remove all clothing from access. Give him acceptable outlets, don't draw attention to the shirt thing, and attempt to break the habit at home first. Then on the last day home, put him in a shirt, give him acceptable chew items, and remind him what he can chew on but don't out him down if he tries to choose the shirt. Gently remind him what he's allowed to chew.

Once you get him off the shirt and onto something acceptable, then allow it every X hours and put it in the cubby. Every week offer it less and less. Keep giving him the nap lovey because he most likely won't be required to nap for kindy anyway.

Over a period of time, yu should be able to wean him to doing the chewing in private. If he feels the need, he can chew it when he goes into the bathroom, during nap time, or other times when it's okay.


I've had chewers before and my daughter was a habitual thumb sucker.

This worked for all of them, even the ones who were clearly sensory and the ones who were clearly anxiety.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:54 AM
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I was thinking the same thing. What would happen if he didn't wear a shirt all day. what would he do.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:15 AM
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Yes bc! That makes so much sense. This is a child who understands rules and is VERY precise, so he may be holding it in as far as behavior, expectations, etc and feeling anxiety about it. I really have NEVER had to tell him something twice. He has a hard time with change, and summer has seen three vacations, his parents went on a cruise and he stayed with grandma, and 2 of 'my' kids are going to K. One he is best buddies with. He DEFINITELY understands that he won't be here for outside free play. Ugh.

Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to make you think about things differently.

He was a late talker, but he never displayed any of the frustration, and when he started to talk, it was short sentences. He watches/observes and then does it perfectly. I just LOVE this little guy.

I just sent dcm a text about the hanes tees. I offered to wash them here with our hand towels (wash nightly anyway, what's 5 shirts?)

LOL with the washer/dryer. Her dh broke the dishwasher (overloaded it with REGULAR dishsoap. It was everywhere and burned out the motor somehow.
See what happens when I don't read posts! I post on something that's already been solved
Glad you found a solution!! . Dcb is blessed to be so loved at daycare!
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