For the Need to Chew™


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From Mama OT:

5 Tips to Help Kids Who Chew on Everything

Have you ever been around kids who seem to chew on everything?

Some kids chew on their shirt collar, their hair, their fingers and toes, the end of their sleeve, or the string on their sweatshirt. Other kids are drawn to items that are more firm and provide more resistance, such as pencils, the soles of shoes, the back of the couch, drywall, or concrete.

Chewing on non-food items isn’t “bad” in and of itself.

Mouthing and chewing items is often part of the natural developmental sequence when children are beginning to explore and learn about the physical properties of their world in the first 1-2 years of life.

Chewing can be beneficial for older kids as well. The “heavy” sensory input provided to the mouth and jaw when chewing (known as proprioception) can help calm the nervous system when overstimulated, nervous, or overwhelmed (like how people bite their nails when they’re nervous, right?). It can help “rev up” the nervous system when bored or in need of additional sensory input, especially if the child is a sensory seeker or has been sitting or inactive for a while. Chewing can also help kids focus when they need to concentrate or block out distractions or stressors in their environment.

Although it can be good in some instances, chewing can become an issue when it becomes such a focus that it prevents a child from being able to participate in functional, daily activities (such as playing, using their hands, or participating in self-care tasks like brushing teeth).

Chewing can also become an issue of concern if it begins to cause self-injury (chewing on nails or skin to the point of bleeding), destroys items (such as pencils, clothing, or furniture), or exposes kids to potential choking or chemical hazards (as with pieces of pencil, eraser, drywall, or concrete).

So what can you do to help the kid who needs to chew?

Here are five tips to help kids who seem to chew on everything:
(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, see full disclosure here)

1. Try to figure out why they are chewing.

What’s the root cause? That can sometimes be the million dollar question. Does the child’s chewing seem to emerge more when he or she is anxious, overstimulated, or bored? Is he or she currently taking medication(s) that seems to be causing an increase in chewing? Is he or she deficient in any nutrients (check with the child’s primary care physician) or demonstrating pica behavior (craving non-food items)? Does he or she seem to be generally seeking out heavy sensory input (proprioceptive input) orally, either because he or she craves it, or is kind of unaware of what is going on in the mouth? Chewing (and other types of mouthing, such as sucking) is one strategy the body can use to calm and organize itself, so it can be helpful to look for patterns or potential causes of chewing behavior. If your child is working with an occupational therapy professional, he or she should hopefully be able to point you in the right direction as to why your child is chewing.

2. Provide increased opportunities for “heavy work” input to the whole body each day.

When kids climb, crash, play tug-o-war, jump on a trampoline, bounce on a hippity hop ball, climb a rock wall, pull a wagon, or carry a full laundry basket or trash bag across the house, their body is provided with heavy input to the joints and muscles, which is called “proprioceptive input.” These types of activities are also referred to as “heavy work” because they activate the muscles and joints through active, heavy…uh…work (logical, right?). Occupational therapists love heavy work activities because they provide organizing and calming sensory input to the brain, particularly for kids who struggle with accurately processing sensory information.

If your child is chewing because he or she is seeking proprioceptive input orally, there’s a good chance the mouth isn’t the only part of the body that wants that heavy input. If your child receives OT services, then collaborate with the occupational therapy professional to create a daily schedule of special sensory and play activities (often referred to as a “sensory diet“) to support your child’s need to chew. You can also find LOTS of examples of heavy work activities in my post of 40 heavy work activities for kids, print out a free list of heavy work chores and activities from Project Sensory, or download an inexpensive sensory diet activities reference sheet from Your Kids OT right here. Oh yeah, and you can learn ALL about “sensory” and “Sensory Processing Disorder” on this page on my blog. There are lots of great resources out there to help you if you need them!

3. Provide opportunities for increase proprioceptive input to the mouth by eating crunchy and chewy foods and drinking through straws.

Foods that are crunchy or chewy can help provide that heavy input to the jaw and mouth the child is looking for when chewing on non-food items. So it can be helpful to incorporate foods that are crunchy and/or chewy into their snacks and meals in order to give the nervous system what it is looking for — oral proprioceptive input. Examples of crunchy foods may include granola, croutons, pita chips, crunchy granola bars, carrots, celery, apples, pretzel rods, corn nuts, ice, or even dry pasta noodles (just make sure they don’t poke the inside of the mouth). Examples of chewy foods that make the jaw, mouth, and tongue really work hard may include jerky, a thick peanut butter (or other nut butter) sandwich, some types of packaged bars (e.g., Clif bars), licorice, or fruit leather. And gum is obviously chewy and can be used to provide increased proprioceptive input, as well as help with focusing, Not only can crunchy and chewy foods provide increased proprioceptive input orally for those who seek out that type of sensory input, but they can also helps kids focus a little better as well, much like chewing gum can do. Learn more about foods to help kids focus.

Food and drinks that require sucking can provide a lot of heavy work input orally and can also help kids get focused and increase their attention. This is a trick pediatric occupational therapists keep in their back pocket that not too many people know about. So think about items such as a kids’ Camelbak water bottle or pop top bottle, suckable fruit pouches, regular or thin straws (for thin liquids such as water, juice, or milk), and thick straws (for thicker items such as milkshakes, smoothies, yogurt, or even applesauce).

4. Provide opportunities for increased proprioceptive input to the mouth through handheld, non-food items.

Since we don’t want our kids to just be eating all day (though some of them probably wouldn’t mind!), it’s important to think of non-food ways to provide increased heavy input to the mouth for the child who chews. There are tons of handheld toys and therapy tools out there that can provide this type of oral input. Toys and activities that provide some nice proprioceptive input and oral heavy work include blowing up balloons, playing with bubble blowers, kazoos, harmonicas, whistles, and pinwheels. Straw blowing games are fun too, like this sticky note pom pom maze game. Chewable therapy items can be a good option for kids who might have difficulty participating in oral play (cannot coordinate oral movements or don’t understand what to do) or who need more intense heavy oral input. I have written extensively on this topic before so if you would like to learn more about chewable items, you can read through this post that walks you through all sorts of therapeutic chewing and feeding tools or this post filled with chewable ideas for kids who put things in their mouth and chew. And, lastly, a vibrating toothbrush can be an AMAZING tool for kids who constantly chew. It provides more intense sensory input than simply brushing with a regular toothbrush, essentially giving the gums a nice massage.

5. Provide opportunities for increased proprioceptive input to the mouth through wearable, chewable items.

Did you know there are companies out there that create chewable items that can be worn as jewelry? I’m not just talking about the rubbery mommy jewelry made for teething babies of chic moms. I’m talking about kid-friendly necklaces and bracelets made specifically for older kids to chew.

Chewigem raindrop pendant, chewable necklace

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I often find myself browsing websites of companies that offer chewable jewelry, in order to support the families or students I am working with. From what I can tell, Chewigem USA appears to have the largest selection of cute, appealing chewable jewelry for girls and boys that I would actually considering buying for my own kids. And, no, I’m not just saying that because they are sponsoring this post.

Chewable jewelry can be especially helpful for kids preschool-aged and up who like to chew while playing or learning, and need an alternative to chewing on their fingers, chewing holes through their clothing, or chewing apart pencils. I find that this type of product is best for children who do not struggle with managing their saliva. Since chewing stimulates the production of saliva, a child who already struggles with this will only drool that much more when using chewable jewelry, which isn’t always the best fit for, say, the school environment.

Chewable jewelry is typically most appropriate for children who are mild to moderate chewers and can be satisfied with chewing on flexible chewelry items. It is not generally appropriate for those who seek out really intense oral proprioceptive input (such as kids who might chew on extremely resistive items such as baseboards or asphalt).

That being said, Chewigem USA shared with me that they have developed more robust chewable necklace pendants, such as these disc pendants, that are 2-inch-wide x 1/2-inch-thick smooth chunks of rigid silicone. They designed the disc pendants specifically for children who seek intense oral proprioceptive input. However, it should be noted that there will occasionally be the child whose chewing is too aggressive for even the most resistive chewable necklace.

I really appreciate the fact that Chewigem USA was born out of a mom’s quest to help her child. The founder shared with me that she has a teenage son with Asperger’s (as well as twin 9-year-old boys) and that, when her oldest son transitioned to middle school several years ago, she saw his anxiety and chewing increase as the summer days ticked closer to school days. She found Chewigem in the UK, and they were just getting started as a “discreet” chewable solution for kids with sensory needs. They had already established themselves as their countriy’s top go-to for mommy/baby teething jewelry and were just branching into the Chewigem line when she decided to partner with them. Chewigem is now a global company with affiliates in the UK, Denmark, and Australia/New Zealand. She shared with me that there is one other mom of a child with autism, plus a psychologist and an early childhood educator among their group. They use their own perspectives when collaborating on new designs and ideas.

Chewigem’s philosophy and mission is to become the discreet, FUNctional chew of choice for those who have a need to chew and fidget. I have been told that, since bringing the product to the states a year and a half ago, Chewigem has found great success with parents, clinicians, and educators, and they are hoping to expand their scope this year to include the adult chewer as well.

All of Chewigem’s products are safety-tested and made from FDA-approved food safe, medical grade silicone. They have recently added designs that have sensory nubs on them, as well as others that are made to feel velvety soft, both of which offer tactile stimulation in additional to the oral stimulation of chewing.




From The Autism Helper:


Age Appropriate Chew Fidgets


You want to know what absolutely makes my skin crawl? Teens and adults with completely babyish materials. When I walk into a high school classroom and see wooden puzzles and hard cardboard picture books I want to pull out my hair and scream. Don’t worry- I behave much more appropriately than that. I understand how hard it can be to maintain an age appropriate environment when many of our learners have more childlike interests. But there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you are still keeping things somewhat age-appropriate.

Sensory items and fidgets have come a long way with keeping up with our age-appropriate obsession. A new company called Chewigem offers some amazingly age-appropriate and definitely stylish chew items that I have been loving. I got the opportunity to test out two of these goodies and saw first hand that these resources truly are both cute AND functional. These bad boys are definitely Autism Helper approved.  These are two of my favs. I love how teenage and boyish they look:


Let’s talk functionality. I have a one guy who has teeth stronger than humanly possible. This guy has bitten and cracked an iPad. When I say we need heavy duty, we need heavy duty. Chewigem suggested this Disc Pendant. I could’t even get a great picture of it in use because it’s constantly in his mouth! That’s a good sign. More biting on the disc = less biting on his hand!


We’ve also been loving this Tread Bangle. They are a little on the small side so I wouldn’t recommend for larger wristed kiddos. But for this guy it’s perfect!



I would seriously wear this it is so cute!


Check out Chewigem for more resource & materials!





From Homeschool Creations:


Do you have a sensory child at home that chews on things all the time? For children with sensory issues, chewing can be one area that helps them process what is going on around them. For one of our children, chewing has become enough of an issue (clothes, pencils, LEGOs), that we were looking for something safe he could have available to chew on. For us, Chewigem was a much needed help.


ChewigemUSA is a family run business that creates oral sensory jewelry for children – both boys and girls. Their products are designed to look more like fun jewelry, so they are more discreet.



Products range from pendants (both discs and raindrops), dog tags, bracelets, and bangles and come in a huge variety of colors. The pieces are made from a non-toxic silicone, so they are completely safe for your kids to chew on. The clasps on the jewelry are all ‘breakaway,’ making them even safer for your family. Their pendants and bracelets can also be put in the dishwasher for cleaning (just not the cords) or washed in soapy water.

Our kids received several of the Chewigem pendants and dogtags based on what they typically chew on and how active they chew. For two of our kids (the ones that needed it the most), their necklaces have been such a help. Rather than putting a sweatshirt cord, pencil/pen, or LEGO in their mouth, the Chewigem pendants offered them a great alternative. Because of the colors and styles, they didn’t mind wearing them around the house or in public at times either (we tried to keep them at home, because I didn’t want to lose them!).
The Chewigem dogtags were my personal favorite – not too heavy, but perfect for Kaleb, our kiddo with more sensory issues. In a typical school day I am constantly trying to redirect his chewing (usually LEGOs or his sleeves), and it has become a big issue in our school day. There have been holes in clothing and a near choking once (that wasn’t a good day). In the past he has needed constant redirection and then just a few seconds later is back to chewing or mouthing something.

Now Kaleb hangs his dog tags by his desk and puts them on almost every morning when we start school, especially when he feels the need to chew on something. Chewigem pendants are one thing that I don’t worry about him choking on and don’t mind him chewing!
Our other two use them from time to time, and I would much rather have them fidgeting with their Chewigem pendant than a pencil or other item. Zachary wears his while reading – helping so much keeping him on track and focused, as well as keeping the fidgeting down (win, win for me!).
Chewigem USA is a company that I definitely recommend you check out if your family has a child that chews. We have been very pleased with the products we received, and their prices range from $14.95 to $19.95 (definitely worth saving a shirt and a few pencils!). Customer service is very helpful as well and will help you find the right pendant for your child if you need any help.



From Crystal & Co:

Yes, I have a child who still drinks out of a sippy cup. He is five.

As a mom of five boys I have spent years searching for the best sippy cup. I could not find one that we liked and that was a spill proof sippy cup.

Until now!

And this one has a built in nightlight! Seriously. I have never been so impressed with a product for my kids!

So, here is the deal. Each of our kids have used sippy cups after the nursing/bottle stages. Shutter the thought!

Matthew has seemed to use one the longest. (And he has gorgeous teeth!) Nick and Luke are 8 and they would still use one if the typical sippy cup was not so baby looking.

Let me just say, after the Litecup, everyone in the house wants one of these. Even the 13 year old! Honestly, it looks more like a tumbler than a sippy cup.

Our trusty old stand by sippy cup (the one on the right in the photo below) LEAKS!! All over my bed. Matthew ends up in our bed most nights and he always wants a drink in the middle of the night. It ALWAYS leaks. Drives me mad. (Guess what is being tossed in the trash?)

Not the Litecup! It has not leaked out a drop!

(If you know Matthew, you know cranberry grape juice is the only juice he will drink.)

We have tossed the Litecup around. We have turned it upside down. We have shaken it.

It has a 360° no spill valve in it. No spills!

AND IT IS DISHWASHER SAFE!! If you know me you know this is so important. If it cannot go in the dishwasher I do not buy it.

Here is how you assemble and disassemble. Super easy!

My older boys love that it is spout proof.

And, if there just was not enough goodness to say about this cup, it also has an automatic light in it. (Just remove the light at the bottom if you are tossing it in the dishwasher.)

The light comes on ONLY when it is dark.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost a sippy cup in the house and you cannot find it until it smells.

Now, it will light up! I can’t decide which feature is my favorite, but this one runs close to the top.

Seriously, this is the most impressive product I have even tried as a Mom!

Where to Buy Litecup

My cup came from Chewigem and they have tons of other products for kids that you will love too!

You can get this cup in red, blue or purple.

Give a Litecup as:

a birthday gift
a baby shower gift (for when they are older)
a stocking stuffer
a gift to any age (adults, children, toddlers, etc!)




From The Pocket Occupational Therapist:

By Cara Koscinski MOT, OTR/L 

“The Pocket Occupational Therapist”
Author of: The Pocket Occupational Therapist for Families of Children with Special Needs and The Special Needs SCHOOL Survival Guide for Autism, SPD, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and More

Commonly, children with Sensory Processing Disorder chew on items which are inappropriate and sometimes dangerous. Their bodies crave input that is gained from chewing, mouthing, and sucking. This oral-motor input can be organizing. In fact many of us chew on items such as candy, gum, or ice when we feel overwhelmed or stressed. As occupational therapists it’s our job to encourage replacement behavior and to suggest safe and age-appropriate items on which to chew. Chewigem™ has created stylish, fun, and cool oral jewelry that I recommend often in my practice.

Chewigem™ sent the disk pendant for use by my son-who has a strong need to achieve oral-input. He is generally quite resistant to “new” items. The shipping was fast. Instructions were provided, which is quite helpful to parents, especially those who are new to Sensory Processing Disorder.

My son was infatuated with the bright colors and their swirling design! He truly enjoyed his disk immediately. He loved the thickness of the disc. It was perfect for his strong chewing needs. The disk was extremely durable and I felt safe that it remained absolutely intact! He wore it everywhere and it did not “stand out” as a product created for a child with special needs.

I would absolutely recommend the line of products created by Chewigem™ to my clients, fellow therapists, to school-personnel, and in future books. Their colorful and sturdy pieces of child friendly “jewelry” most definitely satisfy the need to chew that so many of our children crave.

Thank you for the opportunity to review such a wonderful line of products that fill a great need for our children.





From Golden Reflections Blog:


Why Your Sensory Child Chews And How You Can Help – Introducing Chewigem USA

Does your sensory child chew all the time? Do you ever wonder why and what you can do to help? There are many reasons why sensory children (those with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and other sensory processing problems) chew, sometimes constantly! It has to do with how their brain is processing incoming information from the world around them!

There are ways you can learn to meet their chewing needs, while also teaching them self regulation skills and ways they can help themselves!

Why do Sensory Children Chew?

Have you ever taken a test, maybe when you were in college or high school? Did you find yourself fidgeting with your hair, tapping your pencil, or maybe even chewing on the tip of your pencil? We all have our own little habits to help us focus and concentrate.

For children with sensory processing problems such as Autism spectrum or SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), their brain becomes overloaded with incoming information. They have a hard time focusing on what they need to because all the other information from their eyes, ears, nose etc. is not being filtered properly.

This causes their system and brain to be stressed and their responses are typically something that will be comforting or calming for them. These responses tend to be repetitive movements or actions that can also be disruptive to those around them or bring un-wanted attention from others while in public.

This behavior is also referred to as “stimming”. Not only does this activity usually help them to focus, but it also helps them to relax or cope in new situations and environments. We all have our own “stimming” reactions, however in children with a sensory processing disorder, the reactions are so controlling that they need to do them in order to function.

Many times a child will chew on their shirt or article of clothing until there are holes or the clothing is constantly wet. Other times they will chew on objects such as pencils, paper, or really anything! In extreme cases, children will even bite themselves, leaving bruised and red bite marks on their skin. I worked with several children with Autism who would do this during the school day!

What can you do to help your child who chews?

 Many times a sensory diet that is set up by an Occupational Therapist can be very helpful for children who chew. Also giving lots of breaks where they are able to chew gum, suck on straws for a drink or smoothie, blow bubbles and other activities like that can be helpful!

Replacing the discouraged items your child chews on with acceptable items is one option that is helpful for many parents and teachers. When I was working in the school system we would often provide pencil top chewies, chewerly, or other sensory chew items that were appropriate for children to chew on during class times. This gave the child a chance to chew, which helped their focus and attention to task, but was also less disruptive and more appropriate for the classroom!

One place that you can get great sensory chews from is Chewigem USA! I really wish I had known about them while I was still working in the schools, I think their products would have been a huge help for many of my kids and families!

Chewigem USA is a family run business that creates oral sensory jewelry for children! All of the products are stylish and discreet, to allow your child to chew when they need to! Chewigem understands the need for this kind of product, because they are parents to their own child on the spectrum. All of their products are designed for mild to moderate chewers!

Chewigem USA offers a large variety of pendants (discs and raindrops), bangles, bracelets, and even dog tag jewelry. They are all made from non toxic medical grade silicone, which means they are totally safe for your child to chew on! The pendants come with a breakaway clasp so that you don’t have to worry about it getting caught on other objects.

Chewigem USA designs all their products to look more like jewelry and not just a therapeutic aid. They also offer a wide variety of styles and designs for both boys and girls! All of the products are dishwasher safe, or you can wash them in soapy water (just remove the cords or clasps).

I am so impressed with the Chewigem USA disc pedant I received in the mail! It is 2″ in diameter and 1/2 inches thick! This is great for the child who needs to chew often and also has a hard bite! I honestly wish I had known about this product earlier when I was working in the school system! I know a lot of my sensory kids who chewed would have greatly benefitted from this product not only at school but at home! It allows them to chew in a discrete way and is also stylish and fun!

If you have a mild-moderate chewer in your home, I highly recommend you check out Chewigem USA! All of their products are between $14.95-$19.95 and are well worth it! If you have any other questions, definitely check out their FAQ page for more information!





From Autism Parenting Magazine:





From Lisa at A Special Sparkle:

This year I have a couple kids with significant sensory needs. One of my boys has gone through every sensory object we have on campus. They either don't last long because he mangles them, or they don't quite meet his need and he doesn't use them. Then Chewigem sent me one of their Raindrop Pendants! He LOVES it!! He puts it on the second he sits at his desk and uses it when he needs it all day long.

The pendant is very sturdy and despite endless chewing over the course of several days, there isn't the slightest dent in the necklace! It is approximately 2 inches long which isn't too big for my 2nd grade, nor too small for a bigger kid. It comes in 7 different colors! I really like the red because it's great for boys or girls, plus the bright color makes it easy to find if it falls off or gets put down.

My student is quite fashionable and always likes to have everything match perfectly. He's the adorable kid who will always compliment teachers on their outfits! He was very excited about how cool his necklace looked and that it looks nothing like his ugly chewable necklaces he's had in the past. As a teacher, I really like that the pendant comes with a zip-closed pouch. I can't stand having slobbery sensory objects all over my tables. The Chewigem pouch fits nicely in my student's pocket or desk so it stays clean and so does my classroom!

Take a peek at the Chewigem pendant being used in my class!  The first set of photos is the way the Chewigem arrives in the mail. The next photo frame is my student using them in class. He loves it!

The Raindrop Pendant isn't the only thing Chewigem makes.  The dog tags are another style made with softer rubber that is more pliable than the raindrop style. These bendable rubber dog tags are more for the nibble oriented students than the hearty chewers. They are great for rubbing or gently sucking or chewing. 






Buyers Guide

Need Help Chewsing your Chew™? We have many options! Each Chewigem is different in size, strength and personality!





Moderate +

Tactile Nubs

Matte Finish

Polish Finish


Emitochew Small

2.75" x 2.75"

0.25" thick

Emitochew Large

3" x 3"

0.25" thick

Dog Tags

1" x 2"

0.25" thick


1" x 2"

0.25" thick


1" x 2"

0.25" thick


1" x 2"

0.25 " thick


2" x 1.5"

0.5" thick

Realm Rings




2" x 2"

0.5" thick


2.75" x 2.25"

0.5" thick


1.75" x 1.75"

0.5" thick

Miller Hearts

2.25" x 2.25"

0.5" thick

Geo Tags

1" x 2"

0.5" thick

Tread Bangles Small

3" x 3"

0.5" thick

Tread Bangles Large


3.5" x 3.5"

0.5" thick

Bubba Bangles

3.25" x 3.25"

0.5" thick


4.5" x 4.5"

0.75" thick

Still not sure which one is right for you?

Contact Mama Chewi™ @


Due to the intended use of the product, wear and tear are expected and products should be checked routinely for damage and used with adult supervision. Discard and replace immediately once damaged. Necklaces are not intended to be worn for children under age 3 due to the concern of long cord strangulation. Clasps and ties contain small parts and may be a choking hazard and are not intended for chewing. This is not a toy.