As per the title, my 5.5 year old DS has developed the habit of chewing his sleeve cuffs, particularly of his school uniform. He has literally chewed holes in the cuffs of his polo shirts. I'd been hoping to ride it out until the warmer weather when short sleeves will take away temptation but he's now getting a rash at each side of his mouth which I figure is due to the constant contact with his damp sleeve cuff. I realise this is habit is probably a way of self soothing to deal with anxiety and boredom at school (as well as defence force DH being away) and that me nagging is counter productive (and he gets very angry and defensive when I do) but it is driving me up the wall. I've tried giving him those silicon boys' bracelet things to wear to chew/fiddle with instead but no change. Today his sleeve was damp up to his elbow - so so disgusting. And the cuffs are so full of holes and stretched but I'm not buying new ones for him to do the same to.
This evening I got him to look in the mirror at the rash around his mouth and explained what was causing it. I said that he wasn't in trouble and it wasn't a naughty thing to do but that if he kept chewing his sleeves it won't get better and I'm going to have to keep putting cream on it (which he hates). I said why don't we both try to think of some good ideas about how he can try not to chew his sleeves. Only I can't think of anything else. Rewards don't seem to work and literally 2 seconds after I 'remind' him to take his sleeve out of his mouth he is doing it again.
Of course I imagine if I break him of this habit he will find a new one. Probably back to picking his nose and biting his nails which the sleeve chewing seemed to replace!