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How Do I Stop My Child From Biting His Nails

Ask Your Friends And Family To Help

How Can You Help Your Child Stop Biting Their Nails? (Raising Children #25)

You may not notice youre biting your nails as often as you are, and once you do the damage is often already done.

One thing you can do is ask the people around you to remind you not to bite your nails you choose how cruel or kind you want them to be.

This not only gives you accountability and a better visibility of your nail-biting habit, but it also gives you the support to help you stop.

How Can You Stop A Toddler From Biting Their Nails

While there is no single surefire way to stop a toddler from biting their nails, there are some strategies and treatments that may help them keep their nails, and you keep your sanity. One thing not to do is punish them for the habit. The best thing you can do to help your child is to try and figure out why they are biting their nails in the first place, Gellner explains. If your child is under a lot of stress, try to reduce the stress. Talk about what is bothering them and ways to handle those situations.

While youre getting to the root cause of their nail-biting, here are a few suggestions to try in the meantime:

  • Keep your toddlers nails trimmed and filed.
  • Provide your child with the opportunity to wear adhesive bandages and/or colorful stickers on/over their nails to make them less accessible and provide a reminder not to do it in the first place.
  • Try distracting your child with another activity like drawing a picture, writing, or squeezing a stress ball or Silly Putty when you find them biting their nails.
  • Figure out why your kiddo bites their nails. Do they do it when theyre frustrated or feeling anxious? When the trigger is identified, address the problem, find a healthier substitute, and get rid of the nail biting.
  • Together, make up a secret signal with your toddler to remind them to stop biting their nails. Tap your nose or say a catchphrase from their favorite TV show.

Try A Bit Of Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is a vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine hailed for its naturally bitter taste.

Also known as bitter squash or bitter melon, this vegetable is very potent when used on its own.

Its bitter taste is sure to put you off biting your nails, leaving a gag-worthy taste in your mouth if you choose to get nibbling.

You can either crush bitter gourd, apply the juices on your nails and leave to dry, or find a pre-prepared bitter gourd nail-biting treatment in the shops.

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The Rubber Band Method

A method which often works for older children and teenagers who want to stop biting nails is or them to wear a rubber band loosely around the wrist. Loom band bracelets work well or just a normal rubber band. Remember not to have it too tight, as it can cut of circulation!

Simply teach your child to snap the bracelet against the wrist each time nail biting occurs.

The idea is that your child will begin to associate nail biting with a little bit of pain, and it will discourage the habit.

The rubber band method makes your child personally responsible for controlling his or her habit, and will bring a sense of achievement when the habit is kicked.

Why Do Some Children Bite Nails

My Toddler Biting His Nails, What to Do?

Nail biting is called a nervous habit something, a child does unconsciously when he is worried, scared or stressed. Other nervous habits include sucking thumbs, tugging hair, picking nose and grinding teeth. Kids also bite nails when they are bored or curious. They might also be doing it to imitate someone elses nail biting. Sometimes, there is small part of nail hanging and the child must be innocently trying to bite it off, which can cause soreness, making the child attend to the area with further nibbling. Researchers also say that genetics play a role in nail biting too.The child is not doing this consciously. And hence, while there are few things that you can do to stop him from biting his nails, what you should not do is punish or shame him. That will only aggravate the stress the child is feeling, making him want to bite his nails more!

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Trim Their Nails Regularly

Trimming their nails is a good way to minimize their urge to bite them. Clip and file their nails every week, so there are no rough edges that tempt them to gnaw at it. Girls can have their nails done at a salon, so it looks all shiny and pretty. The attention and pampering her nails get can keep her from biting them again.

Fear About Nail Trimming

After having worked our way down a list of reasons that could contribute to our sons new-found habit of nipping at his fingertips, we discovered that the whole thing stemmed from an incident where we had trimmed his nails a bit too close to the cuticle. That minor incident had given birth to a reluctance to trim nails, and eventually to his reasoning that if he trimmed them himself, we wouldnt have to.

The solution: Over the following months, we took great care not to hurt him while trimming nails after bath time. We slowly eased him into the trimming process by involving all the kids. We even tried to make nail care fun and fascinating. We sat them all down and explained to them how their nails worked what was the cuticle, what we trimmed, where we should cut the nail away, and showed them how to do it themselves.

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Create A New Healthier Habit

Like every habit, nail biting is a tough one to quit, so replacing it with a healthy one can be a good tactic!

Try introducing regular snacks of crunchy carrot, cucumber and apple sticks as they can replicate the crunch they get when biting their nails.

A small stress ball or some silly putty can work in the same way, giving your child something else to focus on when theyre feeling fidgety or worried.

If Your Child Bites Nails Dont Give In

How To Stop Biting Your Nails In 10 Days

Dont give into the temptation to give a reward to a child, or yourself, if nail-biting commenced before the five day period was up. Instead, start over until she is able to go five days straight without biting.

Not one little nibble 0)

Gently remind and encourage them throughout the day about your plan and the reward waiting for them at the end of the no nail-biting period.

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Why Does My Child Bite Their Nails

About 20 to 30 percent of the population habitually bites their nails, and the exact cause of nail biting is unknown. But research shows that children might bite their nails for several reasonsincluding out of anxiety or physical restlessness. “Because it’s a repetitive habit, it may be a self-soothing behavior,” says Kimberly Montez, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest School of Medicine and associate director of Integrating Special Populations for the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

On the other hand, “sometimes it’s purely cosmetic,” says Antwon Chavis, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University. “Some kids really like having short nails.” Nail biting can also happen if children are bored or under-stimulated, he adds.

When Nail Biting Could Be Something More

Sometimes, nail biting could negatively affect your childs social relationships or interfere with their daily functioning. Youll notice this happening if your child complains that other children are teasing them about their bitten nails.

Nail biting can also have physical ramifications. It can lead to painful ingrown nails or nail infections caused by bacteria that have entered the damaged skin around the nail.

More rarely, chronic nail biters can damage their nail beds and teeth. This is called onychophagia. Research shows that it can be treated using oral devices to help break the habit.

A toddler who adds habits to their repertoire may be signaling that theyre anxious about something. By spending one-on-one time with your child, youll build up a strong parent-child relationship that will help them share whats going on in their world.

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When Children With Autism Bite Others

If your child is biting others, its likely for a reason other than stimming . Biting others is often referred to as a form of aggression. Aggression can sound like a scary word, but it doesnt have to be. Of course, aggressive behaviors are something that your child will need guidance with. They are not, however, a sign of who your child is.

Below are two reasons why your child may be exhibiting aggressive behavior:

Sensory Challenges

Its long been known that Autism and sensory challenges go hand in hand. Children with Autism often have a difficult time meeting their sensory needs. If your child is having trouble meeting an oral sensory need, they may resort to biting. The frustration that comes from not being able to meet this need can lead to what looks like aggressive behavior from the outside.


Sometimes, biting can even be a child with Autisms way of telling you what they need. This can be the case whether they are verbal or nonverbal. The Autism Treatment Center explains that if your child can get what they need faster by biting you than they can by using their words, they may go for the bite more often than not. They may also bite because they are unable to communicate what they need, which leads to frustration.

How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails

Why Does My 4 Year Old Bite His Nails

Parents should never be punitive or insulting about their kid’s nail-biting habit. “Often, calling attention to the behavior, especially through ridicule or punishment, will cause it to worsen,” says Dr. Montez.

Instead, if you’re disturbed or distressed by nail biting, you can try habit reversal training, which uses positive reinforcement. Most people are unaware of their habits, explains Dr. Hill, so the first step is bringing it to your child’s attention. One way to do this is sitting them in front of the mirror as they bite their nails and saying, “This is what it looks like and feels like when you’re biting your nails.”

Or, if your child is old enough, you can simply ask them about their nail biting. “When you gently bring it to their attention, you can say, ‘Do you feel better when you do that? Or are you just bored?'” says Dr. Chavis. “Kids can give very insightful answers to simple questions.”

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Should I Worry About The Nail Biting Habit Are There Any Complications

In some cases, nail biting can be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder. This is rare, but not unheard of. It might point to excessive anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder . Talk to your childs doctor if nail biting is accompanied by constant worry/tension and other habits like pinching his own skin or plucking hair or eyelashes.

When To Seek Medical Advice

For some people, nail biting may be a sign of a more serious psychological or emotional problem.

If you have tried to stop biting your nails and the problem persists, or if you begin to develop skin or nail infections, you may want to consult a doctor.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

25 August 2021

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After You Break The Nail Biting Habit Then What

With my experience, both of my children chose not to go back to their bad habits.

Once they were broken, they felt relief.

No one pointed out their bad habits anymore and they knew they didnt have to have those props for comfort.

They had learned to use other things for comfort, and those comfort items could stay, while the bad habits had to leave.

This formula has worked for my kids every single time.

But, if there was a child who was the exception to the rule, I would probably try the same method again in a few weeks, and find a more motivating prize.

What To Do About It:


Left alone, your child may gradually outgrow this habit, especially as he finds other ways to relieve stress . Until then, take these steps to subtly steer your nibbler away from his passion.

  • Reduce anxiety. Counter stressful events in your toddler’s life with extra attention and affection. Help him find other ways to blow off steam. Physical activity works as do quiet activities, like drawing or listening to a story.
  • Create a code. Make it secret, so just the two of you will know it then, use it to gently remind him to stop biting without nagging or embarrassing him. Discreet options include a light touch on the arm, a pinkie wave or a special word.
  • Offer a substitute. Keep his hands busy with a sugar-free lollipop or frozen ice pop.
  • Keep his hands otherwise occupied. When he starts grazing on that pinkie finger, distract him with a hands-on activity, like playing with clay or working on a puzzle.
  • Keep nails short. Shorter fingernails are boring for nail-biters.
  • Reward his efforts. A sticker for each unchewed nail or a bigger prize for going a week without nibbling can be very motivating. For little girls, the promise of a manicure may work.

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Stop Nail Biting Treatments

There are a number of treatments available to help children stop biting nails. Of these, I have personally found Mavala to be the most effective for my kids.

Usually treatments are harmless, bitter tasting substances that you paint directly onto the nails or rub onto the fingertips. The idea is simply that your child is reminded every time a finger goes in the mouth.

These treatments are very simple to use, and are particularly effective if your child wants to stop. If not, a persistent child might suck the treatment off no matter how horrible it tastes, in order to keep enjoying the nail biting. If this happens, you might need to look to some other ideas to help stop the habit.

Remember to reapply the treatment during the day as it wears off with hand washing and other activities. We have noticed that Mavala seems to stay on longer than other similar treatments we tried.

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Discover What Triggers Your Nail Biting

There are many reasons why people bite their nails, but people arent always conscious about why they do it.

One of the most important steps in overcoming this habit is to identify what triggers you to bite your nails.

Is it when youre feeling anxious? When youre bored? Or maybe you start nibbling when you want to forget a certain feeling e.g. anger?

A good way to do this is to keep a journal a notes app on your phone is ok too! Just try to jot down when you bite your nails and how youre feeling / what youre doing.

This will help you to identify any patterns so that you can try and change your reaction to any nail-biting triggers, e.g. filing your nails into a nice shape when youre worried instead of biting them all off.

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Find A Replacement And Shift Their Focus

Your child just might need something else to focus on. Try a few alternative options they can channel their nervous energy with a stress ball, Play-Doh, or another tactile option. Even rubbing a rabbits foot might do the trick. If it seems like theyre more drawn to something chewable, try giving them a bowl of carrot sticks or another healthy snack to crunch on.

Why Do Children Bite Their Nails

Nail Biting In Toddlers: Why It Happens And How To Stop It

First things first, its useful to know why our children end up nibbling on their nails.

Like thumb-sucking, hair twisting and nose picking, nail biting is a common habit for children.

These behaviours are known as nervous habits although, confusingly, that doesnt actually mean your child is nervous.

Most children bite their nails when they are feeling bored or curious, to pass the time, to relieve stress or simply as a force of habit.

So, nail biting can be caused by a multitude of issues, and the most important thing is encouraging them to stop without it turning into an unhelpful nag-fest.

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How Can I Get My Child To Stop Biting Nails

Do you have any nervous habit? Or do you have any habit that you are trying to break? If yes, then you know how difficult it is! So do not expect your child to stop biting nails just because you say so. It takes time, patience and lot of encouragement. Find below 10 Tips To Get Rid Of Nail Biting In Children

Find Something The Nailbiter Loves As A Big Reward

My daughter is a hard-worker and a money-saver.

She loves to earn money, and her siblings know that.

If they want out of a responsibility, they call her over, offer her their job and payment.

Rarely does she turn a job down!

It didnt take me long to find a motivational reward for my daughter.

You guessed it money.

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