Why is my kid chewing on their clothing and fingers?

By Laura May, Owner of
Munchables Sensory Solutions Ltd.
Contributing Author OT Katie Yoon, MS, OTR/L

In my previous article, I outlined how chewing helps children self-regulate. However, not all children chew as a self-coping mechanism. Some children may find the world too loud, too bright and simply too much. These children, especially those with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), may chew if they feel overwhelmed by their environments. Depending on the study you read, the science tells us that

Somewhere between 5-8% of school-aged children have sensory processing issues – that equates to 1-3 kids in every classroom. (Source

Why Does My Child Chew Their Fingers and Clothing

Can you imagine feeling as if you were that child stuck in a room that was too bright or too loud? Or, maybe if you were forced to wear clothing that was unbearably scratchy? I know I go a little bit crazy when the TV volume is up too high or if I have to wear that itchy Christmas sweater for more than just photos!

Now, imagine living in a body where it feels like your brain is being bombarded

with these unwelcome responses during everyday activities. These overwhelming feelings can cause over-arousal and emotional dysregulation, which can manifest as anger, depression and behavioral problems. 

These children instinctively know that one of the ways that they can avoid that stress reaction is to chew. 

Next time, we’ll explore stimming, proprioception dysfunction and other reasons that your child may be chewing.

The most important thing you can do for your child is to remove any shame and stigma from their behavior. They are helping themselves in the most effective way they know how.

Change Don't Chew That" to "Chew This" with Munchables Chewelry

Munchables is owned by a Canadian husband-wife team with two sensory children of their own. We understand how important it is for kids to have stylish, discreet chewies. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: If you are concerned about your child’s chewing behavior, contact your healthcare provider for more information. Some excellent resources on SPD can be found at “Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support”.  

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