MiM: How to make chew necklaces for kids who chew their clothes

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Categories DIY, Make-It Mondays, Parenting, Preschoolers, School-Age

One of my twin boys is a shirt chewer. Actually, he was a shirt chewer. I made chew necklaces for him to wear and completely cured him of his nervous habit of chewing on his clothing in about two months. I am not crafty and I can not sew at all. So when I looked for ideas about how to get kids to stop chewing their clothes, I was disappointed to find complicated, messy sensory games or options that required a sewing machine.

Finally, I found an easy, free, no sew option by whining to my friend who is a school teacher. She had seen a few students wear “chew necklaces” in her elementary school.

Chew Necklaces

How to make chew necklaces for kids who chew their clothes:

Supplies –
*old tshirts (that your child has outgrown or already chewed holes in)
*regular bedroom dresser
*ability to braid

Steps –
*Cut out three strips of fabric (~25-30 inches long, depending on how long you want the necklace to be. Remember tshirt material stretches) from the old tshirts.

Tie Knot in end

*Tie the three strips together into a knot at one end.

*Tuck the knotted end into dresser drawer.Braid with knot in dresser

*Braid the three strips.

*Tie the end of the braid into a knot.

Tie knot in other end

*Tie the two knots together.

Tie together done

Because they are made out of tshirt material, they feel the same to kids as chewing on their clothes and are likely to be a great substitute. They can also be thrown in the wash with their clothes. They do eventually get chewed through (as evidenced in the above picture; the gray and red one is pretty much done) but it’s easy to make more. And oddly, the best news is that after wearing these for a few months, my son just quit chewing altogether. Now, we don’t need these necklaces and he doesn’t chew on his shirts anymore!

Chew Necklace

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Janna lives in Portland, Oregon with a lazy border collie named Cru, her husband and 5 year-old, identical twin boys born at 38 weeks, each weighing over 7 pounds. She works from home as a writer and editor and loves outdoor adventures, holidays, simple living and old historic buildings. She counts list making as a favorite hobby and fully believes the Lochness Monster is real.

8 thoughts on “MiM: How to make chew necklaces for kids who chew their clothes”

  1. I have to ask. How long did you seek a solution before arriving at this? J chewed her hair for only a short time but it drove me BONKERS.

  2. Well, he chewed for about two months and then stopped for almost a year and then started chewing hard core for about 3 months before I found this solution. But I started googling & asking people as soon as he started up again. He was ruining our very limited supply of tshirts!

  3. Hello, Thank you for your clever idea. I have been searching for a way to stop my son from chewing his clothes. He loves the clothing necklace and I even let him choose the shirt. You are a life saver.

  4. This is BRILLIANT!! My son has chewed through 3-4 of the plastic expensive chewy necklaces before I found this site. I LOVE this solution. We already had 3 t-shirts that have been ruined by this habit so right after reading this I made one (only took about 5 minutes). I just tried it on him and asked what he thought. He chewed away thoughtfully for a minute before saying, ‘I love it.’

    If he chews through this, I’ll just cut/make another one from the same shirts. Again I say: Brilliant. You just saved me tons of money. :)

  5. I’m going to make these for my grandson – thanks for the idea – hope it saves future shirts – I saw that the length was 25-30 how about width of each strip?
    Thanks, Nonna

  6. Great idea, my sensory boy chews through his clothes all the time. He goes through even the extra tough ARC chew necklaces his therapist recommend in less than a week. Will try this and add a break away clasp from a lanyard to make it safer! Wish us luck!

  7. Thank you for this idea. My grandson chews on everything. We have purchased many chew necklaces but they always disappear and are rather expensive to continue replacing them. I can’t count the number of shirts I have thrown out from stains or holes. Now I can just use them and save money all the way around.

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