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Old 01-20-2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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Mouthy preschooler

Literally, mouthy. Not as in an atittude Dd has been putting things in her mouth for basically as long as she's had hand eye coordination. She'd chew on cardboard books as soon as she figured out how and we eventually had to put all of them up. I mentioned it to her doctor a few times and he gave me "it's normal until x years old" speech. It got a little bit better so I wasn't concerned. Well, she's 5 now and it's definitely gotten worse over the past few months. Eating and sucking on her hair, chewing on the neckline of her clothes, sucking on her stuffed animals, etc. I know we're really past the point of this being a "normal" stage for her age. But....what do I do? I try to discourage some behavior, like eating her hair or sucking on stuffed animals (probably not the most clean thing to have in her mouth.) No huge life changes coincide with this getting worse. Should I bring her to the doctor? Anyone else have a mouthy kid?

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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DD is only 2, but when we were exiting therapy, I asked the developmental therapist 'how do I know if she has legitimate oral needs or if it's reached a point where it needs to be stopped?'. Her suggestion was to purchase a child chew toy designed to stimulate the oral sensors that some children need. I'm not to the point where I am doing that, BUT, she did say that instead of taking everything out of her mouth, I should offer an alternative. So, I now allow her to chew on one of her old rubber baby spoons. But everything else gets removed from her mouth.

So that's a good starting point. Give her one thing she's allowed to mouth and see if you can contain it to that.

And you can google sensory tests and just see how she scores on the oral to see if there's a reason for additional concern.

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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It could be either sensory seeking behavior (in which case an Occupational Therapist may be able to help) or anxiety related (in which case a psychologist or psychiatrist may help depending). I think some acceptable "chew toys" like chewy tubes or even gum may help if you're not interested in an evaluation
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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There's a good list of things to look for here:

http://www.sensory-processing-disord...itivities.html
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:50 AM   #5
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So funny you say this. Somewhere on here, 2 years ago now I started a thread saying 'when do kids stop putting things in their mouth,' and one person pretty much said "they stop?"

My 4 year old just started taking this up again. For almost a year she didn't really mouth things and now it's new stuff. Sleeves, especially. I told her she's got to stop that because I'm going to need to sell her clothing.
She goes after her hair and pencils big time. I don't know what it is. Maybe I should be glad she isn't eating food instead? Maybe it's a way to push through nervousness or uncertainty?

One thing I can say about Gigi though, other than being advanced in language, reading and writing, she is a completely normally developing kid. My guess is that a certain percentage of kids just take to this behavior. I discourage it because it's destructive but I'm not hugely concerned.

Eta. I should add here that I'm not a very good worrier. So I think if you are genuinely worried maybe more research and a doc visit is warranted?
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:18 AM   #6
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Re: Mouthy preschooler

My dd is 5 and still chews/sucks on clothes/hair/stuffed animals. Our ped says we still don't need to be concerned as long as there aren't other odd behaviors going on as well.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:12 AM   #7
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After asking around my friends, it seems this is pretty common at this age! She has no other signs of a sensory processing disorder so I'm not concerned about that. I think I'll let it be, for now. I'm due in June and we are moving 8 hours away in July so there are big changes coming up for her. I have a teething bling necklace somewhere...I need to find it and see if it helps for her to have a specific item to focus on.
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