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3.5-year-old suddenly chewing on toys/clothing etc - anxiety?

(5 Posts)
eveholt Tue 14-Aug-18 11:15:59

My son is 3.5 and recently has started putting things in his mouth to suck/bite on all the time. He has these soft toys he's always had for comfort but now is never without them and usually biting them absent-mindedly. If he doesn't have them then he'll lift up his t-shirt and suck/bite on that.

He's never been a thumb-sucker or anything but he seems unable to kick this habit even when we tell him we have to put his toys in the wash (cos they're disgusting!) which he doesn't like the thought of. It's like a comfort blanket I suppose but it's only started recently.

There are a few things going on in his life, nothing bad just potential changes to routine and also his little friend at nursery is moving away soon so I don't know if it's low-level anxiety about that? He's very articulate but often ignores questions about his feelings until he wants to talk about it, and seems to find it hard to admit to anything 'wrong'.

We tell him constantly to take these things out of his mouth but not in a cross way. Any suggestions to get him to stop, or should we replace it with a muslin or teething toy etc?! (His baby sibling is teething!) Oh and he doesn't seem to have any dental pain or anything like that. Although he's not always good at identifying if something specific is causing him mild pain/discomfort.

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eveholt Tue 14-Aug-18 14:39:27

Anyone? smile

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Jojo13 Tue 14-Aug-18 21:15:27

Hi, sorry I probably won’t be much help but my son is the same age and recently started chewing his fingers like this.
Almost overnight it started, he went from nothing to just constantly having his hands in his mouth. Like really sucking and chewing so his hands were always wet. Absent mindedly, like when watching tv, but also at busier times.
I assumed a phase because there were no changes to his routine or anything I could put this down to, and he didn’t seem outwardly anxious about anything.
It drove me mad. I just kept telling him nicely not to do it (every time he did) and after a few weeks, touch wood, it seems to have totally passed. Very odd?!!!!
I’m wondering if maybe he was having a little insecure phase and it was a comfort or something.

eveholt Tue 14-Aug-18 23:55:10

Thank you! Hopefully it is just a phase then. Not too much we can do about it either way other than keep reminding him not to do it (that lasts about 0.5 seconds though!)

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eveholt Thu 23-Aug-18 12:35:08

This is still going on, and it's making me think twice about buying toys with smallish parts (I really want to get him a marble run but would be terrified of him putting the marble in his mouth and you can't really get decent ones with bigger balls). There's the assumption that from age 3 more toys are suitable with smaller parts as they're too sensible to put them in their mouth so I feel quite sad for him!

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