Offer A Healthy Substitute
Your toddler may be biting their nails simply because he or she wants something to do. Toddlers tend to believe that anything that they pick up is destined for the mouth and when there is nothing in their hands, then the nails will do. Offering a substitute can be a simple solution to stop nail biting. Give your toddler some healthy snack that they can chew at any time they feel the urge to put something in the mouth. A carrot stick or crunchy celery can be a great substitute for the toddler. However, it is important to avoid using sugary snacks as substitutes.
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.
Reward Each Little Victory
Who doesnt love a good sticker chart? They can be a fun and useful way to reward your child for not biting their nails.
Choose a time marker, e.g. day, half a day and give your child a sticker if they manage not to bite their nails during this time.
Once they have earned a specific number of stickers, give them an award like a trip to the cinema or a toy theyve had their eye on for a while.
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Keep Your Fingers Busy
One study shows that manipulating objects is somehow effective in preventing people from biting their nails. So, find an object of some sort to fiddle with. This could be a stress ball, a fidget spinner, or simply a pen to click. If your hands are occupied doing something else, you will be less likely to start biting your nails. If you feel nervous, try things such as:
- Keeping your hands in your pockets
- Playing with rubber bands
- Twiddling your thumbs
- Clasping your hands
All of these things will keep your hands occupied if you are stressed, and they will also keep your fingers away from your mouth. Make sure to always have something within reach for when you need it. Whatever you choose, make sure that you are replacing your nail biting habit with a less destructive one.
In addition to keeping your fingers busy, you probably want to also keep your mouth busy. You can do this by chewing gum or sucking on candies throughout the day. It will be difficult to bite your nails if you have gum in your mouth or you are snacking on something a bit more palatable. Also, the texture of your bitten nails in addition to the flavor of your gum or a piece of candy is certain to be gross.
Eat small snacks throughout the day. You of course don’t want to eat so much that you are gaining weight, but you can carry around some healthy and crunchy snacks such as carrots or celery so you can chew on them throughout the day.
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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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.
Keeping The Child Active
Sometimes, keeping your child active can be the best solution to stop nail biting. A bored child will resort to fidgeting, nail biting, and other habits. Toys can come in handy to entertain the child. Something as simple as play dough can keep the child occupied as he or she learns to enjoy the texture of different items. However, you must make sure that all the objects that the child plays with are as clean as possible. The truth is that many of the objects that your toddler gets will go through the mouth test.
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How Can I Keep Myself From Biting My Nails
An easy way to deter yourself from biting your nails is to keep them short . The idea behind this method is simple. If theres little or nothing to chew, you wont feel as compelled to bite your nails. Of course, youll need to stay on top of your trimming routine because your nails are continually growing.
At What Age Do Children Get Into The Habit Of Biting Nails
Biting Nails after three to four years of age. There is a clear mention in a research paper that children usually do not start cutting teeth by the age of three or four.
According to the Global Journal for Research Analysis, this habit is more common in children between 4 and 6 years of age, which may increase further in adolescence.
This habit may also decrease if it grows gradually. About 28 to 33 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 10 have this habit. Also, 45 percent of adolescents also suffer from this habit.
Learn further how children feel the habit of chewing nails.
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Do You Know What Happens With Nail
I do. I have met so many nail-biters who have been nibbling for years. Let me tell you about nail-biting and picking
If you are a nail biter, you probably dont feel very proud of the habit. You want to stop. You dont want this embarrassment and shame.
So you usually hide your hands at work. You might like to keep your hands in your pockets.
But hiding wont stop it, as you have now discovered through the lockdown.
At least the pandemic and social distancing has meant that you dont need to shake hands now.
If you are a nail-biter, have you noticed that you fiddle with your hands and fingers a lot?
Its the rough bit that triggers it. You feel for that rough nail edge.
You rub a finger over it, and the more you feel that loose bit of skin or broken nail, the more you seem to hone in on it.
You get that urge. Unconsciously or consciously, you know that you need to bite. To attack and sort it out.
You want to deal with it now. You must!
Then without much thought, your hand comes up to your mouth, and you bite on that nail or skin.
Your teeth penetrate the offender. You might hear a crack.
If its a bit short, you might have a couple of attempts at biting. Like a pneumatic drill, you will break it.
If its a bit of skin, it probably feels sore, but you want to get rid of that extra skin, so you carry on until you can bite it off.
Sometimes a bit of skin peels off, but that feels really sore when it gets to the fresh new skin. Ouch!
Does Nail Biting Require Treatment
There is no specific treatment for nail biting. A doctor may check for the possible underlying cause, such as behavioral issues, to determine the triggers for nail biting in toddlers. The treatment of the underlying condition, either through counseling or medications, usually leads to the cessation of the nail biting habit .
Besides the treatment for the cause, some toddlers with severe nail biting habit may undergo the following habit management-related therapies .
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Self-care and exercise techniques
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Why Biting Nails Is Bad
It sounds like a harmless habit, but biting nails can be harmful to your health. This is particularly true if it turns into a long-term issue. Here are some of the reasons why biting nails is bad:
- Damage to the skin around the nail
- Increased risk of infection
- Increased risk of spreading infection.
- Teeth damage.
As you can see, if you dont learn how to stop biting nails, it can result in both short and long-term health concerns.;
Reward Yourself For Not Biting Your Nails
Its generally easier to reach your short and long-term goals when you reward yourself for doing so. The reward doesnt have to set you back an arm and a leg. It simply needs to give you the motivation necessary to kick this habit to the curb. For example, you could reward yourself with dinner at your favorite restaurant if you dont bite your nails for one month.;
How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their 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.”;
What To Avoid Saying To Your Toddler
On the bad days when your toddler seems to be biting their nails nonstop, you might be tempted to do something that could make things worse.
Endless reprimands, long lectures, yelling, and punishments wont encourage your child to stop biting their nails. In fact, the negative attention may just make your child more determined to show you whos the boss of those nails.
Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, your toddler is at the developmental stage of autonomy versus shame or doubt. At this me-do-it stage, your child is working toward independence. Toddlers who arent given the opportunity to behave with age-appropriate independence could begin to doubt their abilities, and this could lead to low self-esteem and feelings of shame.
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.
Is Nail Biting Genetic
The answer is no, and while there may not be a nail biter gene, kids are likely to bite their nails if their parents do. This is because kids are likely to follow their parents behavior. Between nature and nurture, nurture plays a bigger role in evoking nail biting tendencies. Kids absorb your emotions and the energy of a household, and if its a stressful one or youre constantly uneasy, your children will feel it.
Try Not To Make The Nail Biting Worse For Kids
Since you want to learn how to get your child to stop biting their nails, its natural to bring it up time after time. The problem with this is that it may cause more harm than good. Just because you want to talk about it doesnt mean your child feels the same way. In fact, they may want to avoid the conversation altogether.
There are a few things you should avoid:
- Dont yell stop or thats gross every time your child bites their nails
- Dont punish your child
- Dont embarrass your child, such as by telling them to stop in front of their friends
The more you read about how to get kids to stop biting nails, the more youll realize how important it is to take a cautious approach.
Simple Steps To Kicking The Habit
Comprehensive daily steps outlined in our e-book, and here is a brief excerpt:
Day 1: The decision is made!
Apply Magique NoBite treatment to only nine of your nails, leaving the little finger on one of your hands free. If the urge to bite your nails is overpowering, you still have your unprotected little fingernail to satisfy your need and limit the damage. This ânakedâ finger is your safety net!
Day 2: Reapply Magique NoBite daily
Reinforce the bitterness of Magique NoBite every day by applying a fresh coat. The bitterness will last effectively up to a week, but why take any chances. Reapplication is most important in the early weeks, but it will be helpful throughout the first 30 days. Besides, you got a large bottle of Magique NoBite polish, so you may as well use itâ¦right?
Day 6: Results begin to appear
You should be starting to see results, but you will need to STOP chomping on those cuticles. We would have put this first, since it is important, but the order of things demand that you get all the grunginess that is going to tempt you into biting taken care of first. You are going to have to push your cuticles back daily.
When To Look For Help To Stop Nail Biting
No matter how hard you try, you may realize that youre not making progress. But that doesnt mean you should give up. It means that you need to look for help. Here are some times when its best to get the help of a doctor or therapist:
- When all other options have failed to generate results.;
- If you believe the habit is related to a more serious problem, such as an anxiety disorder.;
- When your nail biting is causing other health problems, such as gaps in your teeth.
When it comes to learning how to help kids stop biting nails, you may need a little bit of help getting through to them.;
Make Them Aware Of The Habit
Habits such as nail biting are mostly unconscious. Your child would not know at most times that they are doing it and hence get surprised when you yell at them to stop. Talk to the child about what causes them to bite the nail and suggest secret ways to remind them of it when they do it. This is useful when done in a subtle way, especially in public where they can get embarrassed. A tap on the shoulder or a code word only the two of you know is a good start.
Five Days To Break The Nailbiting Habit
Because it was a goal she could fathom and reach.
When encouraging your kids to reach goals they get frustrated and lose motivation if its too far from reach.
Five days doesnt sound too daunting to a child, but 30?!
Youve got to be kidding!
I wanted, no, I needed my daughter to use every ounce of motivation I could give hershe had a yucky addiction!
Throughout the week I saw her lift her hand to her mouth, only to put it back down as she remembered that $20 that was so close to reach.
In fact, she came to me laughing one day saying, Mom, over and over I catch myself getting ready to bite my nails, and stop!