Children chewing on their fists, their toys and their furniture is relatively normal, and most children go through it at some point. However, it can be alarming to you as a parent if it seems extreme or goes on for long periods of time, according to the KidsHealth website. There are a wide variety of reasons for this behavior and so it should be examined carefully along with any other symptoms your child displays.
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Teething can happen anywhere between the ages of 3 months and 3 years old, explains KidsHealth. During this developmental phase it is considered normal for your child to chew more to help her emerging tooth break through the gums. To stop your baby from chewing on her crib it can be helpful to give her a substitution, like a wet washcloth that has been frozen for 30 minutes.
Excessive chewing could be a sign of anxiety in your child, according to the "Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology." Chewing by itself is not an indicator, but if your child chews his fingers, chews objects such as the crib, or has a variety of other signs and symptoms of anxiety then this might be the underlying cause for the behavior. According to this study, anxiety in young children is best determined by observing your child's behaviors, rather than asking them questions.
Sensory Integration Disorder
Sensory integration disorder is a condition in which your child's sensory perception of the world is different from average, according to BBB Autism Support Network. Your child may be more or less sensitive to textures, sounds, touch or taste, and this can lead to behaviors, including excessive chewing on furniture, clothing or themselves. Chewing by itself is not enough to diagnose sensory integration disorder, but if you feel your child chews excessively it may be helpful to watch for other symptoms of this disorder.