Why Do Kids Eat Glue?

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This article documents the most common reasons and recommendations for the problem: Why Do Kids Eat Glue?

Children love exploring and trying new things. One common way is that they easily put stuff like glue and paste in their mouth. Kids eating glue is not totally new, it’s what they all do. 

Eating glue is dangerous when it is done frequently by a kid as it could result in serious health problems.

However, glue eating is a stereotypical phase for some kids. Parents often tend to freak out when they catch their child eating glue. 

Thus, we gathered some parents and carried out a survey to give answers to the burning question “Why do kids eat glue?”, we also read several publications and studied videos to provide insights on all there is to know about why kids eat glue and how to help young children stop eating glue.

5 Common Reasons Why Kids Eat Glue 

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Credit: Tenor
Credit: Tenor

What exactly draws a young child to eating glue? It could be the color, texture or even the smell. 

Now, let’s talk about some common reasons why young children like to play with glue and even go as far as eating them. 

Here are five top reasons to “why do kids eat glue?”.

#1. Kids Are Curious And Glues Are Attractive

Kids always have a strong desire to learn more about things. They are naturally curious. It is out of this curiosity that they end up eating glue. Most times glues come in attractive and colorful designs, capturing their attention. Children are curious and glues can be attractive.

#2. Children Likes Attention And May Result To Eating Glue To Get One

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Credit: Tenor
Credit: Tenor

Attention is another common reason why a young child could eat paste or glue. Parents shouldn’t be too busy for their kids, because when children seem for attention elsewhere, they might start to get really bored and tend to eat whatever their hands find around, including glues. 

#3. Defiance

Parents would most times restrain their children from eating glue, but defiance can cause a child to persist in the act. The majority of kids like to defy, so when told “no”, they are still after eating more glue. 

When children do not listen to instructions, they are most likely to engage in such ridiculous habits. Defiance serves as a motivation to the glue eater. 

#4. They Are Stressed And Hungry And Just Want To Eat Something

Stress is one basic reason why kids eat glue. Research has shown that kids are easily vulnerable and the majority of them can not cope with stress and anxiety.

When some children are going through stress, they tend to consider bad measures and ways to help themselves. Often, glue is an odd measure that results in a bid to cope with stress. 

#5. Pica Disorder

Pica is an eating disorder in kids that makes them crave non-food items like paste, glue, etc. This eating disorder causes a child to eat things other than food. This set of children derives pleasure from eating non-food items. Kids with pica disorder eat things like; glues, crayons, rocks, sand, and so on.

Studies have established that pica can only be diagnosed in a child from 2 years old and above. It implies that parents should pay utmost attention to kids below that age range before they start eating things. 

Is Glue Eating Unsafe for Kids?

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Image: Pexels
Image: Pexels

When a young child consumes glue, it is oftentimes dangerous, but can also be safe depending on the type of glue the child consumed and the quantity.

There are two types of glue, non-toxic and toxic glue. The non-toxic glue is not poisonous, it is safe if taken in a small amount. 

School glue and white glue are two popular brands of non-toxic glue. Notwithstanding, these glues are still petroleum-based.  It will be difficult for the body to digest and break them down if consumed in excess. COuld result in intestinal infections or bowel problems. 

On the other hand, toxic glue is extremely harmful when consumed. Elmer’s glue is one famous glue brand with a blend of aqueous emulsions like polyvinyl acetate, propylene glycol, and polyvinyl alcohol. 

In actual fact, the ingredients are not toxic when taken in little quantities. But when a child eats the glue in large quantities, it could result in stomach pain, obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal pain, and many more. 

It is highly recommended that parents should gently reprimand the child if the glue eating behavior persists. Parents should also seek help from trained professionals as soon as possible in order to nip the glue-eating bud. 

6 Tips To Help Your Kids Stop Eating Glue

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Image: Pexels
Image: Pexels

Figuring out how to stop your kids from eating glue is the best thing you can do for them, simply screaming “no” doesn’t work again, as it even makes some of these children persist in the act. They probably like the sound of “no” and want you to say more. 

Glue eating could lead to severe health complications such as lead poisoning, so the kids need to be stopped. Here are some great tips that could help children to stop eating glue.

#1. Keep the Glue Out Of The Reach of Your Kids

Don’t make it hard for your baby. 

Store glues where your kid’s hands can’t reach. 

Doing this would help tackle the cravings of your child. If you check the packs of most of these glues, “keep them out of the reach of children” is clearly written on them. Therefore, keep your glue in places where the hands of your children cannot reach it. 

#2. Change Your Glue Brand To Something Less Attractive

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Image: flickr.com
Image: flickr.com

Children are easily attracted to stuff with colorful hues. So if your glue has a vibrant color, it will definitely capture the attention of the child.

As a parent, if you notice that your child is drawn to Elmer’s glue because of the bright color and glitters, you can change the brand. 

When you change your glue brand to another, it will reduce the craving to eat in your child as well. When the glue is not fanciful, your kids would be less tempted to eat it. 

#3. Replace Glues With Toys

Toys are good replacements for glues. Children love toys. Get your child toys to play with. When glue cannot be easily obtained, it lessens the desire to eat your kids. 

#4. Pay Close Attention to Your Kids

Keep a close eye on your child always. Whenever you notice any glue eating behavior, gently reprimand them. Constantly tell them that glue is not safe for their body system, therefore it is not edible. 

As guardians, offer the kids snacks during crafts to get their attention off the glue. Paying close attention to your kids can help curb the habit of eating glue. 

#5. Keep In Touch With Your Child’s Teacher To Ensure They Are Not Eating Glue

Children tend to spend more time in school than they do at home. It is advised that parents have a detailed discussion with the teacher, telling them to heavily monitor the little ones. If a child eats glue at home, it is only normal that the child would do the same in school. 

Having a conversation with the teacher will help control the behavior of the child in school. When you work hand in hand with the school teacher of your kids, it will help to reduce their access to glue in school, putting a stop to the behavior.

#6. See A Child Psychologist If Matters Get Worse

See a child psychologist when the habit becomes frequent. A child psychologist helps to study the behavior and mind of a child and advises on ways to put a stop to the habit.

Final Thoughts

Why Do Kids Eat Glue : Image: Pexels
Image: Pexels

Ultimately, kids are most curious while they are growing up. At this stage, they want to drive their parents crazy simultaneously by sticking non-edible things in their mouths.  

There are tons of reasons why kids eat glue.  Regardless of the drive behind the behavior, eating glue is dangerous for kids. 

Most parents find this habit alarming, but implementing the tips in this guide, will definitely fix the problem of glue eating. Try them out. 

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Shane is passionate about researching and comparing interesting baby stuff for his baby girl. After getting his Master's in Health Management in London, he worked for a top-tier naming and branding consulting firm based in the US. He helps with the research on this site.