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How To Stop Toddler From Biting Nails

Discover What Triggers Your Nail Biting

How to stop children from biting their nails

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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Why Your Child Bites Their Nails And How To Help Them Stop

Nail biting is unsightly, and it can lead to skin damage, infections, and other health risks. Heres how to help your child stop the bad habit once and for all.

Nail biting is a common habit during childhood. But although it can be frustrating for parents, it’s often harmless, and kids usually outgrow it over time. “A lot of kids stop biting their nails as they age and start to look around and see that other people aren’t doing it,” says David Hill, M.D., adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro and Co-Parenting Through Separation and Divorce.

That said, excessive nail biting can be problematic for kids’ health, causing infection or damage to the skin, nails, and cuticles. We spoke with three pediatricians to better understand why kids bite their nails and how to help them stop.

Wondering If It Is The Right Time To Start

There really is no set amount of time that you should wait to step in and encourage your toddler to quit biting their nails. In fact, the sooner you can do something, you should in order to help improve the progress of your toddlers from biting their nails. Early intervention can be incredibly helpful in ensuring that your toddler does not continue nail biting which can lead to a number of issues down the road for their hygiene, teeth, and fingers. Starting as soon as possible can help make for great progress for your toddler from biting his or her nails.

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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.

How Should You React When A Toddler Bites

My Toddler Biting His Nails, What to Do?

A biting toddler can be painful, frustrating, and test your patience, especially if you dont know what to do to make it stop. Remember, though, your reaction will have either a positive or negative effect on the situation.

There isnt a single way to stop a toddler from biting, so it might take multiple strategies to get the problem under control. Heres are some options to try:

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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.

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.

Children are generally inquisitive. They ask a lot of questions and love to discover new things.

Your child may bite nails if they are bored and have nothing to do.

They may also do it just because they are curious and want to find out how it feels to bite their nails.

Whenever your child does this, give them an activity to do to keep them busy.

If you want to know how to get your toddler to stop biting nails, and this is the reason why they do it, dont panic Theyll most likely forget about biting their nails once they get busy.

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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!

Resort To Few Tried And Tested Creative Techniques

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

You could put bandages on your child finger tips or if its a girl, paint the nails with multiple coats of nail polish. Some also use bitter tasting polish to make biting more of a challenge. While some experts claim these to be ineffective as children, consider them as a type of punishment, there is no harm in trying it if all other methods fail and you are convinced about what you are doing is rightHope the above mentioned 10 Tips To Get Rid Of Nail Biting In Children is helpful for you.

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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

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 .

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Make The Stop Biting Nails Reward Match The Nailbiter

I knew I couldnt just hand her $5 nope, not this money-saving teen.

It had to be worth the hard work to stop biting her nails.

After all, she rather enjoyed it.

It was something to keep her busy when she had to sit still.

It was something she could do when she felt nervous or pressured and now, what would she do?

So, I raised the stakes and offered her $20 to stop biting her nails for five days.

Her eyes grew big at $20!

Her sister piped in, I bite my nails too!

She immediately became the object of envy.

How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails

One FUN Trick to Stop Nail Biting in Kids » Pint

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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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

Types: Fashion Motors Electronics Sports & Leisure Health & Beaut

  • d her alot and then she tells me she isnt even doing it! She doesnt even realize its happening! She is also a nail biterlike m
  • d them to stop
  • This weeks expert, CARD Research Manager and BCBA Karen Nohelty answers your autism questions LIVE!Like Autism Live on Facebook at
  • utes without spitting. Gradually increase the time until the child no longer spits
  • Fingernail biting is a disgusting habit cursed by nervousness, often accelerated by masturbation or astigmatism. Thus intoned Ray C. Beery in 1917 in his Practical Child Training Book.Public.
  • Is nail biting an autistic stim? I used to bite my nails a lot as a child up to age 10 or 11. I found torn nails, and tears to the quick a pain so I stopped. I cut my nails from then on. I began chewing pens inces..

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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.

When Children With Autism Bite Others

First with Kids: A variety of solutions for nail biting

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.

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How To Help Your Child With Oral Fixation

We expect our babies and toddlers to constantly put things in their mouths. But what if that behavior continues into the preschool years and beyond? You may wonder if this could be a sign of a neurodevelopmental disorder or if its just a stage thats taking your child a bit longer to outgrow. Ultimately, taking steps to help your child with their oral fixation will limit the negative oral behavior and reduce the effects it can cause.

Here well give you a better understanding of what an oral fixation is, what it may be related to, as well as methods to help your child better manage the behavior.

Can I Grow My Nail Bed

Theyre different shapes and sizes. Some people have shorter nail beds while others have longer ones. Some people are unhappy with their shorter nail beds because they feel it makes their nails look too short. While you cant change the size of your nail beds, the good news is that you can make them appear longer.

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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.

How To Avoid Making It Worse For Your Children

How to Stop Children from Nail Biting

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.

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