Don’t Eat That! -Tips To Help With Mouthing

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Tips and Tricks to help mouthing

As babies, it is essential that we explore our environment with every possible sense we have. Touch things, look at things, smell things, hear things, and of course…. Taste things. Infants are often caught with all kinds of things in their mouths!

As we learn and grow, we are soon taught what to, and what not to put in our mouths. Some children with sensory processing challenges may seek out extra sensory input to help them regulate their bodies. One form of sensory seeking behaviour can utilise our Oral (mouth) sense. Often this is seen in children who are always chewing on their pencil, collar of their shirt, hair, fingers, or anything else near by! For some, this may even mean eating – actually consuming and swallowing – non-food items. If this is extreme and persistent, please seek medical advice as your child may have symptoms of pica.

Children who are sensory seeking should ultimately be seen by a professional occupational therapist to ensure that their sensory needs are being met. If your child truly has sensory processing challenges than this needs to be addressed by a professional.

There are many ways to help your sensational child seeking out oral input in a socially acceptable way. Try the following:

  • Oral motor tools such as Chewlery
  • Behavioural rewards such as a reward chart (how many ‘chew free’ days can we have)
  • Incorporating accessible chewy or crunchy snacks as appropriate throughout the day. Make sure they are healthy!
  • Altering the sensory seeking “sense” from oral to touch, by giving your child a ‘fidgit toy’. Fidget toys are small, discreet toys that are fluffy, squishy, spiky or otherwise novel/interesting for your child to play with instead of chewing.
If your child requires further assistance to help support their chewing and mouthing behaviours, then your best bet is to call an occupational therapist. They specialise in sensory processing challenges such as oral motor seeking behaviours.

Contact KinderCloud today on 0409 279 728 or email for more information.

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Aimee York

Aimee is a paediatric occupational therapist, who is passionate about working with children and their families to support successful development. She often is caught telling people she has the best job in the world.Aimee works regularly with children with emotional regulation and behavioural challenges, as well as Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. However, she likes to emphasise that children do not need a 'diagnosis' in order to require a bit of support, help and education to get them back on track.Aimee is the owner and principal occupational therapist at KinderCloud Online Allied Health for Children .


  1. My son is on the autism spectrum and does this – he chews his nails right back to the nail bed, chews holes in his clothes etc.
    So we have purchased so funky chew necklaces from jellystone design. Fantastic!

    1. Great idea Bonnie, it’s fantastic to hear you’re supporting your little ones need to seek out that input. It will help him to regulate himself 🙂

  2. Great idea Bonnie, it’s fantastic to hear you’re supporting your little ones need to seek out that input. It will help him to regulate himself 🙂

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