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How To Stop My Child From Biting Nails

What Can I Do To Discourage Nail

How To Stop Your Child From Nail Biting

Its tempting to just tell your child to stop biting their nails and expect results. Think about how long they have been biting their nails or picking their cuticles. They have likely formed a habit they are not biting their nails on purpose. Habits are hard to break, especially if theyve been biting nails or picking their cuticles for some time.

How To Get Kids To Stop Biting Their Nails: 14 Tips For Parents

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If you are trying to figure out how to get kids to stop biting their nails, it may seem like you have an uphill battle against you. Everyone has heard a horror story of an adult who was never able to break this childhood habit. Not only is nail-biting a pretty gross pastime, but it can cause dental and gastrointestinal problems due to the bacteria from under your nails. Not good! Here is how to get kids to stop biting their nails well before adulthood.

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!

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Onyx Professional Stop The Bite

This is the budget friendly option that can be the answer to how to cure the nail biting habit. If the Mavala Stop is too much of an expense for you, the Onyx Professional Stop The Bite is a great alternative. It does the nail-biting deterrent job perfectly. Another great thing about this nail polish is that it can be used both as a top coat and base coat. This means that you can use it with decorative nail polish. This way, you will be able to protect your kid without having to cramp his or her style.


  • Could be a fire hazard

Reward Each Little Victory

How I Quit Biting My Nails

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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What Not To Do When Helping Your Child With Nail Biting

Parenting is hard. Knowing how to respond to your child is hard too. Some techniques listed here may be your first reaction, but these are a few things we shouldnt do when dealing with kids and nail biting.

As with everything with parenting, its all about patience and practice.

  • Endless lectures
  • Giving your child negative attention for nail-biting
  • Yelling at your child

We all have our good days and bad days as parents. If you find youre having a rough day, consider ignoring the nail-biting for a day. Focus more on positive interactions with your child on these rough days. Address the nail-biting another day when youre well-rested and less stressed.

When children are 2-3 years old, theyre developing a sense of autonomy vs shame or doubt. They want to be making their own choices and be in control of their body. Taking the wrong approach during this stage can lead to a power struggle that no parent wants. It can also lead your child to feel low self-esteem or shame.

No matter what age your child is, take a deep breath and remember that most likely, your child is not biting their nails to annoy you. Dont treat nail-biting like a behavior problem. Treat it like a sneaky habit that your child needs help breaking free from.

If Your Child Bites Nails Dont Give In

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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Side Effects And Risks Of Nail Biting

Nail biting has many physical and psychological side effects, which include:

  • Damage to the cuticle and surrounding skin redness and soreness
  • Possible bacterial infection in your nail beds and mouth
  • Dental issues
  • Psychological issues with self-esteem, shame, depression
  • Problems with relationships

Long-term, habitual nail biting can disrupt normal nail growth and result in deformed nails. In some cases, extreme nail biting down to the nub can be caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How To Stop A Child From Biting Nails

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

The treatment of NB in children involves a multidisciplinary approach and depends on the conditionâs severity and related risk factors .

Parental involvement is the first line of treatment of NB in children. Hence, your childâs doctor may suggest some of the following techniques to help your child stop biting their nails :

  • Aversive therapies, including keeping the nails trimmed or applying bitter nail polish, may help. However, bitter nail paints are contraindicated in children as they may consider it a punishment.
  • Substitute NB with other relaxation techniques, such as taking deep, slow breaths
  • Identify the triggers that are causing NB.
  • Keep your child busy and focused on other things.
  • Avoid punishing or nagging your child as it may worsen the condition. Instead, encourage your child and give them support and confidence.

You may also seek professional advice if there is no improvement in your childâs condition. The treatment methods for NB in children include :

  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, teaches techniques to control NB behaviors in children.
  • Functional analysis therapy can be effective if NB is habitual.
  • Habit reversal therapy comprises self-awareness training, replacement of NB with other behaviors, and supporting the child.
  • Pharmacotherapeutic management with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor , such as Fluoxetine or N-acetylcysteine


  • Nail-Biting.
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    Keeping The Nails Short

    One of the easiest ways to stop your toddler from biting his nails is by keeping them short. If there is nothing to bite or chew on, the thrill is removed. Your toddler will be dissuaded from biting his nails when the attempt to do so becomes futile. Keeping the nails short will also help to reduce the amount of bacteria that can be ingested. Cut his or her nails every day and your toddler will find that the temptation to bite the nails is diminished. Take care of the cuticles and remember that bacteria can enter the skin through the area around the nail.

    Manage Stress And Anxiety

    One method to stop nail biting is to learn the triggers that make you anxious, stressed, or bored. If youre unable to stop, and nail biting becomes more and more habitual, talk to your healthcare provider to get a referral to a therapist. With therapy, you can learn cognitive behavioral therapy methods to identify or modify your behavior. If you have a disorder, you may need to be treated appropriately with medication.

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    Nail Biting Ages 3 To 6

    Why does my child bite her nails?

    Your child may bite her 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 and spirited 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 some point between one-quarter and one-third of college students say they still bite their nails.

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

    Unless and until she’s ready, you probably can’t. Like other nervous habits, nail biting tends to be unconscious. If your child doesn’t even know she’s doing it, nagging and punishing her are pretty useless. Adults have a terrible time breaking themselves of habits like this — and most parents, when they think about it, realize that they regularly model such behavior.

    One simple strategy, if you feel you must do something, is to praise your child when she doesn’t bite her nails at a time or during an activity that usually triggers the habit . If you pay attention to her for behaving the way you want, you’ll make more progress than if you focus on the negative.

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


    When To Seek Medical Advice

    Things To Help Stop Biting Nails

    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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    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.

    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.

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    Most Importantly Be Positive

    Making a big deal out of your childs nail biting, shouting at them or punishing them might cause your child to bite their nails even more.

    Skip the its gross lecture – shaming them wont make it better. Instead, try and get your child on board using rewards, an encouraging attitude, etc. and be patient.

    Its hard enough for adults to kick a habit, so a child may find it even harder.

    Just keep at it and find a way that suits you and your child in helping them give up nail biting once and for all!

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    Nail Biting Prevention And Habit Reversal Tips: How To Get Your Child To Stop

    Nail-biting is a common and frustrating habit for many children, teens and parents. Roughly half of all children bite their nails, and it is more common in boys than girls after the age of 10. But, there is good news! More than 75 percent of teens who bite their nails will stop by age 35.

    Why Do Kids Bite Their Nails?

    • Their nails might not be well-trimmed.
    • They see other people do it.
    • To give their brain some extra stimulation.
    • To cope with stress or anxiety.

    There are a few things parents can do to help combat nail-biting which include both general prevention as well as habit-reversal.

    General Prevention Strategies

    • Keep your childs nails well-trimmed. Nail decorating may prevent biting if it fits within your familys culture and values.
    • If nail biting is a habit for you, stop biting your own nails first or at the same time as your child .
    • Teach your child effective ways to manage stress like taking deep slow breaths, squeezing their muscles tightly and slowly relaxing them, as well as doing mindfulness activities.
    • Keep your child and their hands busy.

    Habit Reversal Training

    HRT is a research-based approach to treating all kinds of habits, including nail biting.

    HRT Step 1: Increase Your Childs Awareness of Biting Their Nails

    Put something on their nails: You can use bandages, gloves or bitter nail polish. Note that these strategies are designed to help your child realize they are biting their nails, not stop them from doing it.

    HRT Step 3: Build and Maintain Motivation

    Why Do Some Children Bite Nails

    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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    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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    When To See A Healthcare Provider

    One FUN Trick to Stop Nail Biting in Kids » Pint

    An occasional nibble on your nails may not require a visit to the doctor, but if your nail beds are infected and the infection has spread to your mouth, you will need to see a healthcare provider to be treated with antibiotics. If your nail biting has reached a point that you cant stop and it is affecting your self-esteem and relationships, ask for a referral to see a therapist.

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    Anxiety / Stress Relief

    Toddlers can get anxious sometimes. They can experience pressures and tensions and find it hard to express them. This usually leads to behavior like nail-biting.

    They may bite their nails unconsciously while watching television or in response to certain situations. It can be your toddlers way of coping with minor stress, so you dont have to worry much about it most of the time.

    You, however, have to worry about it if your toddler severely bites their nails to the point of harming themselves.

    Talk to your doctor if your toddlers fingers get bloody or sore when they bite their nails. This could be a sign of excessive anxiety.


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