How To Stop Toddlers From Biting Their Nails
When it comes to a 2-year-old biting nails, sometimes the best option is to simply carry on as normal, and hopefully, this little habit will go away on its own. If not, then we have some other methods that may work for you below.
You could start by telling your little one about hygiene and some reasons why it’s not nice to put your fingers in your mouth and that we all have dirt and bacteria under our nails.
Keep their nails trimmed and smooth, so there won’t be much there for them to bite. Also make sure to gently file down any rough edges, as these can be very tempting to chew on!
Come up with a secret signal or code, so that when you spot your child nail-biting you can gently remind them to stop. This is great for when you need to discreetly remind them, without drawing attention to it or embarrassing them.
Use a fun reward system. You could give your little one a sticker for every half-day they manage without nail-biting, then once they get say, four stickers, they get to choose a treat. Don’t forget to heap on the praise, even if they don’t quite manage it, remind them that you are proud of them for trying.
Try offering your child a swap so they’ve got something else to keep their hands busy. Silly putty, a soft toy, a funny or cute stress ball, or finger puppets all give nervous hands something else to do. If you notice there are certain times when your child is most likely to bite their nails, for example, while watching TV or in the car, then start the swaps here.
Final Thoughts On How To Stop Biting Nails
We hope that this information will help you on your journey in kicking your nail biting habit out of your life.
As difficult as it may be, there are many ways to overcome this habit permanently. So, experiment with any and every idea that makes sense, track your results, and tweak your approach as necessary.;
When To Seek Medical Advice
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.
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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.
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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Make Sure Your Child Is On Board
Your child cant stop a habit if they dont know theyre doing it. Plus, they need to be motivated to want to stop biting their nails.
The first step is to make sure youre a team. Help your child understand that nail biting is a habit thats worth stopping, especially since it can cause infections and problems with your teeth. You can also talk about hygiene and touching things with fingers that have been in your mouth.
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.
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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.
Why Do Toddlers Bite
Children bite their nails for a number of reasons and the majority of them arent intentional. Some of the significant reasons are listed below:
1. Lack of language skills:
Lack of language skills can be the primary reason behind your toddler developing the habit of nail-biting. Your toddler is probably unable to express strong feelings like frustration, joy, anger, etc. hence biting nails becomes a substitute for not being able to express his/her emotions like for e.g. I am really excited, I want to play in the park, I dont want to eat that food, etc.
2. Are experimenting to see what will happen:
Your tiny tot is often curious to experiment and test his/her body capabilities. He/she is into experimenting mode, thinking, Wow, let me see what I can do with my teeth.
Child development experts say that a toddler biting nails is something very natural for them because they get curious about their new set of teeth.
3. Need more active playtime:
Playing is crucial for your childs social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. Its your childs way of learning about the body and the world around. So, if your toddler is deprived of his/her playtime naturally your child needs more active time. Hence, they tend to develop a nail-biting habit.
4. Are exhausted:
5. They are teething:
Babies bite nails because many times they are teething which gives them a yearning to put things in their mouth. Nail biting is believed to be relieving the teething pain to some extent.
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Avoid The Trap Of Negative Goals
For all its complexity, the human mind does not deal well with negatives. If I told you not to think about a polar bear with green polka dots, the only thought in your mind would likely be that polar bear. If you set a goal for your child not to bite their nails, your childâs mind only hears, âbite nailsâ and torments them with the thought day in and day out. Instead of setting a goal for your child not to bite their fingernails, find a positive way to phrase your words. You might, for instance, set a goal for your child to âgrow strong, healthy fingernailsâ, or to âtake care of their nailsâ.
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.;
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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.
How To Properly Wean A Child From Biting Nails
Often, parents who notice such a tendency turn to doctors with the question of how to wean a child from biting his nails.;How to do the right thing, and what to do at the same time, you will be helped by the advice of psychologists, the essence of which is briefly outlined below:
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As for special tools, in this case, you can use the use of vitamin and mineral complexeds that improve the general condition of the nail plate. B vitamins and baths with natural vegetable oils have a good effect. You can also buy specialized varnishes such as Nekusayka or Do not gnaw, designed specifically for children.
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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.
Why Do Toddlers Bite Their Nails
Before understanding how to get a toddler to stop biting their nails, you first need to understand WHY they do it
Nail-biting is one of the many nervous habits that toddlers have.
Nail-biting is the most common among these habits and the most likely to continue into adulthood.
If you are wondering how to stop a toddler from biting nails, then you shouldnt worry. The good news is, most toddlers will eventually stop biting their nails or at least limit or control the behavior on their own.
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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.
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.
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What Causes Nail Biting
Onychophagia is the medical term for nail biting, and is usually observed in the younger population. The peak age of this habit is 10-18, but it may begin much younger and continue for several years. Most people stop this habit once they reach adulthood.
Boys have been found to be more prone to onychophagia than girls. This habit causes people to not only bite their nails, but also the soft tissues that are around the nail bed, resulting in unsightly and often painful fingers.
Although a single cause of nail biting has yet to be identified, the following factors are the most commonly recognized causes for people to bite their nails.
Encourage Your Child To Take Up A Hobby
Children often engage in unhealthy habits like nail-biting when they are bored and donât have anything to do with their hands. Have you ever found yourself, for instance, chewing on a nail as you watched a movie or TV show? Encouraging your child to take up a hobby, something that will keep their hands occupied like working a jigsaw puzzle or painting, and keep projects in the places where your child is most likely to engage in nail-biting.
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When Should I Be Concerned About Child Nail Biting
Generally speaking, nail biting is a harmless habit. This behavior is something your child may experiment with for a few days or weeks and eventually give it up entirely. In most cases, your child should outgrow the habit and you may find the problem goes away on its own. However, you may notice your child picks the habit back up again with a vengeance. If your childs nail biting comes and goes, and you see the problem getting worse, you may have could cause to have concerns.
Err on the side of caution and consult with your childs pediatrician if their nail-biting is causing physical harm, such as bleeding fingers and/or sore gums. The question of whether you need to visit a doctor to learn how to stop nail biting in a child is one you shouldnt sweep under the rug. Just the same as anything else regarding your childs health, its better to be safe than sorry.;
How To Stop Your Kids From Biting Their Nails
Suzie is a busy mom with three energetic kids. She loves finding and sharing activities and solutions to help her fellow moms stay sane.
Is your child biting his or her nails? How can you stop this habit?
Nail biting in children is a very common habitone they usually grow out of but can take into adulthood if it goes unchecked.
Most of the time it is just that…a habit. It’s something a child unconsciously does when bored or anxious.
Occasionally it can be a sign of more serious, underlying problems, such as real anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder . Don’t worry though; if this is the case, there will be other signs, so nail biting on its own is not a major issue.
Mostly it’s just a simple activity that the child isn’t even aware he or she is doing. Usually, the only result is that the nails look ugly and can develop sores around the fingertips and cuticles, plus it can be a bit unhygienic if nails are dirty. In extreme cases, newly developing teeth can be weakened, but again, this is unusual.
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