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.
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.
How To Stop Kids From Biting Their Nails For Good
Just like adults mindlessly chew at their fingernails, so do kids. It might be a nervous habit or a grooming activity they turn to in moments of boredom. More often than not, they dont even realize when they are doing it.
It could be an unconscious go-to if they are worried about taking a test, thinking about a situation with a friend, or just watching a brain-numbing video on YouTube.
Generally speaking, nail-biting is no big deal and fairly harmless you might consider having some patience and wait to see if this phase passes. However, if finger-chomping hangs in for the long haul , youll want to take some simple steps to nip this habit in the bud. Heres what you can and should do.
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What Should You Know About Toddlers Biting Their Nails
First of all, lets address the fact that nail-biting is a very common habit. Around half of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 do it at some point , according to C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital. Statistics for toddler nail-biting arent readily available, but we know it happens. Weve seen it.
For many people, toddlers included, onychophagia thats the fancy medical word for nail-biting is a coping mechanism for dealing with stress: both the good and bad kinds. Toddlers might also start biting their nails out of boredom, because they see a family member do it, or because they think their nails could use a trim and decide to take matters into their own hands .
Dont Present Confusing And Conflicting Messages
Katie hits Tommy. Katies mother quickly goes over and smacks Katie on the arm saying Mustnt hit. Are you as confused as Katie is right now? Have you ever been driven by embarrassment or anger to do something illogical? We all have. So plan in your mind ahead of time what you will do when your child hits someone.
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Strategies To Stop Nail Biting In Kids
Many toddlers eventually outgrow their nail biting habits, so some parents prefer to just ignore it. Other parents may find the habit to be too gross and opt to work toward stopping it. If nail biting starts very suddenly, consider whether your child is undergoing any new stressors. Even some positive changes, such as getting a new pet or moving to a new classroom group, can be stressful.
Therefore, our experienced will share some strategies for parents to prevent children from biting their nails.
1. Cut Your Childs Nails Frequently
Keeping fingernails short reduces the available surface area to bite. It also means that there is less dirt and bacteria lurking under your childs nails and getting into his mouth. Consider keeping a small nail file or clippers in your purse in case of a snagged nail, which may be too much to resist.
2. Find a Substitute For Nail Biting
Find a healthy substitute, such as celery or carrot sticks, to satisfy the urge to chew on something.
3. Give Your Child Something Else To Focus On Instead Of Nail Biting
Keep your childs hands and fingers active with something they can stroke or manipulate and keep in their pockets, such as a smooth worry stone, stress ball, or putty. This enables your child to focus on the texture of something positive so they are less tempted to bite their nails.
4. Choose a Subtle Signal To Make Your Kid Stop Biting Her Nails
5. Create a Reward System For Your Kids
6. A Manicure Can Help Stop Nail Biting In Children
Is There A Cure For Nail Biting
To help patients stop nail biting, dermatologists traditionally recommend applying a bad-tasting nail polish, Friedman said. Behavior therapy is another standard approach: People learn how to be aware of what triggers their nail biting stress, for example and then divert the energy into a healthier behavior such as squeezing a stress ball, Grant added.
The reality, though, is that even with behavior therapy, we don’t really have great data for any of it, he said.
Because most people who have the problem are embarrassed by it. They feel that they should have been able to stop it on their own. So people really don’t come to see psychologists, psychiatrists or their primary doctors about their nail biting.
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Consequences Of Biting Your Nail
Although nail biting is unsightly in social situations, it’s typically harmless for kids. However, it can become a medical concern if it damages the cuticle, nail, or surrounding skin. “If the skin around the nail is red, painful, or has discharge, your child should be evaluated by their pediatrician,” says Dr. Montez.
Nail biting may also increase the risk for paronychia, a skin infection around the nails. “And if kids play in the dirt a lot, there’s also the opportunity to get parasitic infections from eggs that may be in the dirt,” says Dr. Hill.
Lastly, nail biting can be a sign of depression or anxiety. “If a child is experiencing pain or discomfort from biting their nails but they do it anyway, they may be trying to tell you that they have some anxiety that biting their nails is providing relief for,” says Dr. Chavis.
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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When To Be Concerned
If your childs nail-biting leads to physical concerns chipped teeth, ingrown nails, damaged cuticles, or worse you may want to talk to your childs pediatrician. And if you suspect that the habit is a result of anxiety, its never a bad idea to find a professional your kid can talk to. Anxiety is a part of growing up, but finding healthy coping mechanisms can help your child face big and small challenges more readily.
As you know, many grown-ups still bite their nails. It certainly isnt the best habit, but its also not the worst. You can certainly try our tips on how to stop your childs nail-biting, but keep age in mind and remember to prioritize communication above all else. If you keep at it slowly but surely your kiddo will become more aware and will more likely want to work with you to curb the habit.
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.
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Why Do Children Bite Their Nails
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.
When Should I Worry
Most nail biting is really more of an aesthetic issue than a health-related one, but there are circumstances in which parents really need to make the choice to step in. If your little one is biting excessively, causing his fingers to bleed, then there is more of a concern about infections that could become serious. Also, pay attention to his behavior if he is pulling out hair or eyelashes, scratching at his skin or picking scabs. These could be signs of a more serious anxiety issue, and you should raise your concerns with your childs health care provider.
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Ways To Get Kids To Stop Nail Biting
Looking for methods to try when navigating how to get kids to stop biting their nails? These ideas are proven winnersgive a few of them a try and see which work best for your child. Remember, it will take more than a day for these methods to work, so give them some time.
1) One effective way to dissuade children from chewing on their nails is to apply a bitter solution to their fingernails and cuticles. Each time their mouth touches the area, they will have a mouthful of bitter, which is enough to help move them along the process quickly. This method should not be used on young children, so make sure to read the age guidelines on each product. Those who want a more natural solution can try using aloe vera on the nails as that is also bitter, but be forewarned that it will not last as long as the solution.
2) For young children, one of the most effective ways to stop nail biting is for you to physically touch them and remove the finger from their mouth. This will help them notice they are chewing and help them stop. This works especially well if you can put something else in their hands and mouth to distractlike a lollypop or teething toy.
3) A bandaid applied to the ends of the fingers can completely hide nails and make it much harder for children to chew. If you are desperate for ideas to help you figure out how to get kids to stop biting their nails, this is an inexpensive and easy solution.
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If Youre Stuck And Things Arent Working
Try to figure out if your child has anxiety that hasnt been addressed. Continue using praise and positive reinforcement all day. Offer praise even if your childs success is only due to a device such as the Nipit or Dr. Thumb. Get all childcare providers on the same page about the plan, and be persistent. This is the first deeply rooted bad habit most kids have to break. They cant do it without the loving and persistent support of adults.
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So Whats The Trick To Stop Nail
Brainstorm about a reward that would motivate your child.
It needs to be something way bigger than normal, and trust me, its worth the investment!
Then, give your child a certain cut off date.
I have found five days to work best.
For younger kids, you can use a chart to mark off the days or make paper rings for the countdown.
Anything visible is a great reminder to keep going.
My daughter just needed verbal reminders, plus she has five siblings making sure she keeps her side of the bargain!
I always give my kids three strikes.
If I see them biting their nails three times, the plan is over no reward.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is one of the most common triggers for nail-biting. Thus, it is essential to learn to manage stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation to calm your mind. Plus, engage in activities that give you pleasure and try other therapeutic interventions such as taking a steam bath or sauna to relieve stress.
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Its A Seriously Gross Habit
When a parent contacted the Babyology Helpline for advice on her daughters nose-picking habit, other sympathetic mums and dads had plenty of helpful advice.
My almost three-year-old girl has a terrible habit of picking her nose and before you ask yes, yes she has been caught eating it! the frustrated mum began. #WeveAllBeenHere #Shudder
We have tried everything, from gentle redirection to explaining why its not nice, to being stern but nothing is working! Its a seriously gross habit please tell me theres something we can do, or that shell grow out of it?
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.
- Think about why your kiddo bites their nails. Do they do it when theyre frustrated or feeling anxious? When the trigger is identified, address the problem and find a healthier substitute.
- 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.
And finally, it goes without saying that if youre a nail-biter yourself, try to kick the habit .
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How To Stop Kids From Biting Nails: Causes & Solutions
As a parent, you will encounter loads of bizarre habits in your children. Be it hair pulling, thumb sucking, nose picking or nail-biting, there will be something. Some of these habits may unnerve you, while others make for funny video clips.
While nail-biting is a common habit in young and old, children are more prone to this impulse control disorder. Approximately 30% of all kids actively bite their nails and this behaviour is known as onychophagia.
Read on to find tips on how to stop kids from biting their nails and ways to figure out why they are doing this.
Ways To Permanently Stop Finger And Thumb Sucking
Most people need to combine several methods to find success:
- Talk: Always start by talking to your child about why thumb sucking is a bad habit. Talking alone doesnt usually break the habit, but it can help your child decide that he or she wants to quit. Positive motivation to quit is half the battle. Some things to talk about with your child include:
- Germs: Thumb and finger sucking spreads germs and makes people sick.
- Teeth: Sucking pushes teeth forward and can make you look funny, and you might need braces.
- Teasing: Other kids will think you are still a baby or might tease.
- Speech: As long as you suck your thumb, it is hard to learn how to speak the right way. You might sound funny.
- YouTube: It worked for us. One night we showed our daughter about six short YouTube videos about thumb sucking. In the middle of one video, she announced she was all done sucking her thumb. That was really the turning point, the moment at which she decided for herself that she wanted us to help her stop. Sometimes, kids just really need to hear about bad habits from someone other than mom or dad. YouTube is a cheap and easy way to accomplish this.
- Chewelry: Jewelry you can chew, or chewelry, is a good substitute to help a toddler stop the sucking without losing the true pleasure they get from oral stimulation. There are many options in many colors on Amazon and other sites, most about $10.
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