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Child licking/putting things in mouth


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Hello all,

I have a child 5/6 who seems to chew/lick/put a lot of non-food things in his mouth. I most frequently notice him 'mouthing' a table leg when sat during carpet time but I have also seen him chewing paper (the edge of a sheet he's working on) and the other day licking the screen of an iPad. It's not across the board though - he doesn't chew the corner of his books or cuffs of his jumpers for example


It's parents evening coming up next week and I want to talk to his parents about it but I've never come across this before except in children who were clearly 'developmentally younger' if that makes any sense? So, I would like to have a few ideas/suggestions of where they could go depending on what they say.


At the last parents evening mum asked if I'd noticed him putting things in his mouth and I hadn't particularly then but it was early October. Since then I've noticed it increasingly although I'm not sure whether that's because I'm looking for it or because he is doing it more.


I did try talking to him after I'd seen him licking the iPad screen but admittedly he was upset because I'd stupidly reacted to the sight by saying his name in surprise and although he clearly knew he'd been doing it didn't know what or why.


I've searched on the forum and saw a suggestion of Pica which I'll explore a little more. I suppose I'm asking for other suggestions and a possible approach I could talk when talking to parents.

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We have had children, mainly a bit younger, who have done similar. One little girl was a terrible licker, anything and everything, including her pet rabbit! Another would put all sorts in her mouth, mostly playdough, blutack, dried pasta, and would keep a secret supply in her pocket to munch on through the day if we didn't spot it. Don't know if its a sensory thing or just a habit.

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Similar here including the dust collecting in the pen well of the interactive whiteboard. Could indicate a lack of minerals in the diet. PICA is worth reading more about and asking Mum more about the habits at home and when out and about. Speak to your SENCO too to see if there is anything you should do next re observations or making a referral. Maybe handy to keep a log of times and things the child does.

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