My kids have been chewing gum for so long that I can’t remember any more when I first allowed them to begin. I am certain that many of my friends would say it was WAY TOO EARLY. These are the friends that don’t hide their eye rolls (directed at me) very well when my kids are chomping away in front of theirs, prompting an inevitable round of begging and pleading.
I feel pretty guilty about this, as though my inability to govern my kids has put my pals in a tight spot. But the truth is, of all the annoying things my kids beg for, I find gum low on the list of offenders.
Then, I recently read about a school in Germany that actually encourages young students to chew gum to improve learning. Vindication is mine!
My mom outlawed gum chewing in the house across the board when I was a kid (I’m not even sure if my dad was allowed to and I still wouldn’t bust out any Hubba Bubba at her pad), alleging that we’d ruin the carpets and furniture with it. And she was very serious about this law. In fact, the only other place that seemed more strict about gum was my elementary school. Then these Germans come along and blow my mind.
The theory at Volkenschwand school in Southern Germany is that gum chewing not only relaxes the children and improves dental hygiene, but that it also boosts their cognitive performance. They are so pro chewing, that they’ve equipped each child’s desk with a special gum receptacle. Students at Volkenschwand are allowed to chew during breaks and lessons, as long as they keep their mouths closed while chewing and always dispose of their gum. These rules are very similar to the ones I set for my kids. Since they started the habit somewhere in toddlerhood, I also insisted that they didn’t choke.
Do you let your kids chew gum? If not, will you now?
Image via OakleyOriginals/Flickr