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“Why DoesMy Older Child Chewon Everything? ” Discussing ReasonsWhy Your Child Continues to Chew Items Beyond the Teething Stage
For babies and toddlers, putting things in their mouths is a normal stage of development. Some children, however, continue to chew non-food items well past the mouthing/ teething stage. For some, it is a passing phase. Other individuals will always have a need to chew that may continue into adulthood. Why? There could be many different reasons, and it’s not always a straight answer. What many therapists find is that it’s typically a result of a number of reasons.
Stress/Anxiety The most common explanation for why some children chew is because of stress and/or anxiety. Chewing provides proprioceptive input to the jaw that is very calming and organizing. It’s similar to how some people might bite their fingernails when they’re nervous, or pace back and forth, do deep breathing, tap their foot, etc. It also reverts back to how mouthing/chewing/ sucking is a self-soothing technique when we’re babies. These are all mechanisms for how we cope with stress.
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