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How To Stop Kids From Biting Nails

How Can I Get My Child To Stop

First with Kids: A variety of solutions for nail biting

For example, at breakfast you might tell them calmly, âIt would be nice if you could not bite your nails today,â and explain that youâll touch their hand lightly with your index finger every time you see them nibbling.If the habit bothers you, set limits. âNo nail biting at the dinner tableâ is as reasonable a rule as âNo feeding the dog from your plate.â At other times, explain in a compassionate way that you know they canât help it, but you donât like to watch them biting their nails, so youâre going to another room for a few minutes. The most important thing is to keep whatâs basically a nuisance from escalating or getting laden with emotion. Stifling your anger for as long as you can and then snapping, âStop biting your nails! I canât stand it!â is a recipe for disaster. If the situation is already tense, defuse it by being straightforward ââI think weâre both getting too worked up over this. Iâm going to take a break from it for a while.âAs long as theyâre not hurting themselves and donât seem stressed out, your best bet is to wait out the habit. The less fuss they associate with their nail biting, the more likely theyâll stop on their own when theyâre ready â and the more likely theyâll feel comfortable asking you for help.

Kids Biting Nails: Whats The Worst That Can Happen

Children biting nails may seem like a very natural occurrence, but there are very real reasons why your little one should keep those pearly whites away from their fingers.

While this is by no means a sure guide to the horrors that await your little angel, it is good to know what can happen if their nail-biting habit gets way out of hand. In short, biting can lead to:

  • Severe shortening of their nails
  • Constantly broken skin on the fingertips
  • Increased risk of chronic paronychia
  • Partial destruction of the cuticle or the nail plate
  • And, of course, other secondary infections

While these are extreme end results, each one of them began as an innocent biting of that very first nail and grew into a problem from there. Understanding the worst-case scenario can help gauge the seriousness of the situation.

Learning how to get kids to stop biting nails, depending on whats causing the habit, will help make sure you have the skills to support your child in breaking the habit.

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Side Effect Of Biting Nails

The Side Effect and risks related to Biting Nails can be understood as follows.

  • In children who chew nails, bacteria can reach the roots of teeth through the nails, causing damage to the gums and root of the teeth.
  • This can cause apical root resorption .
  • Malocclusion means there may be an increased risk of tooth decay.
  • The temporomandibular disorder may occur. It causes pain in the muscles in and around the jaw.
  • There may be wounds in the gums.
  • The tissue surrounding the nail can be damaged by cutting its teeth.
  • In some cases, chewing the nail can damage the nail beds, the pink-colored soft cells inside the nail. This may cause that fingernail to end completely.
  • Biting Nails can have a negative social and psychological impact on the child and its parents.

Read further when the habit of Biting Nails becomes a cause for concern.

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Why Cant People Stop Biting Their Nails

People bite their nails because they are stressed and sometimes because they are bored.

People start biting their nails because it is considered a way of releasing the stress and tension that they are experiencing in their lives.

If you find that you are always in an angry mood, you should consider trying to make yourself relax by taking deep, cleansing breaths.

Once you have calmed down a bit, try taking a few slow deep breaths to help release any anger or anxiety that you are feeling.

If you are bored, it is hard to concentrate on anything else. Boredom is the most common cause of nail-biting, followed by stress. Fixing things to make them interesting can be a way of dealing with boredom.

But there are many things you can do to make some interesting things that wont involve biting your nails.

For example, you can read a book, watch TV, go for a swim or you can also go for a walk, like walking your dog?

So what products can help you avoid it?

Avoid Making It Worse

How to Get Kids to Stop Biting Their Nails: 14 Tips for ...

Calling too much attention to your childs bad habits is likely to backfire and their nail-biting may get even worse. Punishing your child or embarrassing them for biting their nails also wont be effective in helping them change his habits.

Help your child manage their nail-biting but dont get too wrapped up in making them stop. Yelling or telling them that they’re gross wont help.

Skip the lengthy lectures about all the reasons why putting their fingers in their mouth is disgustingthat isn’t likely to work either.

Helping your child put an end to biting their nails will be much more effective if they’re on board with the plan. If they’re not particularly motivated to quit, your efforts aren’t likely to be successful. So, be patient with them and if they’re not interested in stopping, you may need to wait until they are.

You might broach the subject from time to time by saying something like, “I notice you bite your nails a lot. Do kids at school ever seem to notice?” Mentioning that other people might see them doing this might make them a bit more aware of others perceive them.

Similarly, you might ask them, “It looks like your fingers get sore sometimes when you bite your nails so much. Do you ever wish you didn’t do that?”

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Breaking A Nailbiting Habit Is Never Easy

There were a few tears in the beginning, but soon those tears turned into smiles, and then happy giggles of triumph!

She was thrilled she wouldnt be a thumb-sucker for life!

The situation with my other daughter is a bit different.

Shes older a teenager.

I decided to approach her bad habit a little differently.

If you have a toddler with bad habits, we have another article for toddlers!

Think with me now.

What is something your child or teen loves?

Something they would do extra chores for?

Something they would wish or work for?

That is your secret weapon.

How Can I Get My Child To Stop Biting Her Nails

Nail biting is a common habit, but usually not a serious one for most children. Most children who bite their nails eventually lose the habit, but some may continue well into adulthood. In more serious situations, nail biting can lead to health concerns. There is no prescription to stop nail biting, but it can be addressed. Dr. Cindy Gellner talks about the reasons why nail biting occurs and offers suggestions on how to help your child stop biting her nails.

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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.

Give Them An Object To Hold

Nail Biting – First With Kids – UVM Children’s Hospital

Some of these objects are obvious, such as stress balls, fidget spinners, or fidget cubes. These products are designed for people of all ages and will work great to distract from nail-biting. They can also increase focus.

If your child is in school, make sure that the classroom allows these objects during class time. Many schools banned items such as fidget spinners, so before you send your kid to school with one, check their school rulebook or contact their teacher.

Worry stones are also a great tool to use. They are small stones cut into an oval shape with an indent in the middle.

This indent is made to put your thumb on, and you can rub your thumb across the worry stone for a calming effect. Worry stones might be great for older kids because they are more subtle. They could even hold their worry stone in their pocket, and it would still distract from nail-biting behaviors.

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How To Avoid Making It Worse For Your Children

While some reminders of nail biting can be helpful, calling too much attention to it may backfire and make the problem even worse. Drawing attention to it at the wrong time can cause embarrassment, even if its just in front of siblings, which is more likely to create resentment and stubbornness rather than being helpful. Telling your child that nail-biting is gross or giving long lectures probably wont be effective either.

Usually, the most effective way to help your child stop biting their nails is to get them on board with a plan you create together. If your child does not want to stop nail-biting, your efforts are less likely to be successful, or they may bite their nails when youre not around. You may find it better to wait until your child is ready on his own.

To bring up the subject in a non confrontational way, you could say something like, Ive noticed you biting your nails a lot lately. Do other kids seem to notice? or It looks like your fingers get sore when you bite your nails. Do you ever wish you didnt do that? If your child wants to stop nail biting, work together to create a plan to help, using some of the strategies listed above.

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.

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Encourage Them To Develop A Hobby

Having a hobby or passion is a great way to keep the children busy and divert energies in the right direction. So, if you feel that stress or anxiety might not be the cause of their nail-biting habit, but more driven out of boredom, then help them discover their passion. Keeping busy with something and having to look forward to activities is one of the best ways to change the focus of the mind while giving up any habit and this works with nail biting too.

At What Age Do Children Get Into The Habit Of Biting Nails

5 Effective Ways To Stop Nail Biting In Children

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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Why Is My Toddler Biting Their Nails

An estimated 30 to 60 percent of kids and teens bite their nails, so your child isnt alone. So what causes it?

Some research shows that nail biting may have genetic factors. Also, your toddler could be biting their nails because of the attention they garner when you insist they stop.

However, most experts pin down nail biting to habit a repeated behavior that your child isnt even aware of. Habits develop for three main reasons:

  • Boredom. A bored child may start nibbling at their nails because there isnt anything more pressing to do.
  • Relief. Nail biting may be a response to stress.
  • Relaxant. Some kids suck their thumbs to help them fall asleep, while others bite their nails.

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How To Stop Kids From Biting Their Nails

The last thing you want to do is hope that your child grows out of this habit. If you dont take care of it while theyre young, its a habit your child may carry into their teens and adult life. Understanding why children bite their nails and how to address the habit will allow you to take the appropriate action at the appropriate time.

Nail Biting Ages 6 To 12

Life Coaching for Parents : How to Stop a Child from Nail Biting

Why does my child bite his nails?

Children bite their nails for many reasons — out of curiosity or boredom, to relieve stress, to pass the time, or from force of habit. Nail biting is the most common of the so-called “nervous habits,” which include thumb sucking, nose picking, hair twisting or tugging, and tooth grinding. Nail biting is most common in high-strung children, tends to run in families, and is the most likely of the nervous habits to continue into adulthood. About 30 to 60 percent of elementary school students and 20 percent of adolescents bite their nails, at least for a time between one-quarter and one-third of college students say they still bite their nails.

Is my child’s nail biting a sign of excessive anxiety or some disorder?

Growing up is an anxious process, and many of the tensions and pressures are invisible to parents. If your child bites moderately and unconsciously , or if he tends to bite in response to specific situations , there’s probably nothing to worry about.

If you know or suspect that a particular situation is making your child anxious — a recent move, a divorce in the family, a new school — make a special effort to help him talk about his feelings.

If, on the other hand, the habit doesn’t seem to pose any physical or psychological threat, ignoring it is the best way to ensure that down the road your child will either stop on his own or ask you to help him quit.

How can I get my child to stop biting his nails?

References

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Consequences Of Biting Your Nail

Although nail biting is unsightly in social situations, itâs typically harmless for kids. However, it can become a medical concern if it damages the cuticle, nail, or surrounding skin. âIf the skin around the nail is red, painful, or has discharge, your child should be evaluated by their pediatrician,â says Dr. Montez.

Nail biting may also increase the risk for paronychia, a skin infection around the nails. âAnd if kids play in the dirt a lot, thereâs also the opportunity to get parasitic infections from eggs that may be in the dirt,â says Dr. Hill.

Lastly, nail biting can be a sign of depression or anxiety. âIf 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,â says Dr. Chavis.

How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails

Parents should never be punitive or insulting about their kidâs nail-biting habit. âOften, calling attention to the behavior, especially through ridicule or punishment, will cause it to worsen,â says Dr. Montez.

Instead, if youâre 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 childâs attention. One way to do this is sitting them in front of the mirror as they bite their nails and saying, âThis is what it looks like and feels like when youâre biting your nails.â

Or, if your child is old enough, you can simply ask them about their nail biting. âWhen you gently bring it to their attention, you can say, âDo you feel better when you do that? Or are you just bored?’â says Dr. Chavis. âKids can give very insightful answers to simple questions.â

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