“Snap, Crackle, Stop!”: How do I get My Kids to Chew With Their Mouths Closed?

Q: Help! I have 3 children ages 10,9 and 7; I cannot get them to close their mouths when they chew. Any ideas on how to stop this horrible habit?

A: You should check with the pediatrician and make sure that they don’t have blocked nasal passages first. Sometimes this is the case so chewing with an open mouth allows breathing to take place at the same time. If there is no problem, then just be consistently firm that this is unattractive, that people will laugh at them or not invite them to be with them because it is such bad manners, and that they have to practice not doing this, at home, every day so they don’t do it in public out of habit. They are old enough to understand that this would be embarrassing to them, and could even lose them friends.

One Comment

  1. Lori C

    After the doctor’s visit and he/she finds nothing physically wrong, if there are two parents, both parents need to agree the behavior needs to stop. Children aged 10, 9 and 7 are not going to give a rat’s backside people will laugh at them or not want to be around them. Nor will they be embarrassed or concerned about losing friends. They probably think it is great fun to tick off the parent who is writing in. Which is why I suggest the other parent needs to come down and come down hard on these three jokers. The second parent attends as backup. No more disrespecting us with your bad manners at the table. (I am sure chewing with open mouths is not the only bad manners happening) We will remind you at the beginning of every meal. If you can show us you can chew your food with your mouth closed, you will get X. If you cannot, you will have Y taken way for Z amount of time. After they are all successful with chewing with closed mouths, move to the next poor table manner. When they are totally successful, take them to do something special and fun as a surprise big reward.

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