Is your child a nail biter? While most of us look at it as a harmless habit that will go away with time, it turns out that it may be a lot more serious. Nail biting, especially during formative years, can do serious damage to teeth, nails, and skin – and for kids who already deal with sensitivities like eczema, things could get even worse. If your child is biting their nails, now is the time to help stop the habit so that they can look and feel healthier. To help, here are some simple ways you can help stop nail biting in your children without all the hassle and constant monitoring.
For most people who nail bite, anxiety, stress, or worry is behind the habit. It gives us something to do and a way to process nervous energy – and when kids do it, they can get so absorbed in the habit that they can actually hurt themselves without even realizing it.
Providing healthy distractions to your children when you notice that they have nervous behavior could be all it takes to avoid the biting behavior before it even starts. Toys that are easy to hold and super interactive are great alternatives to offer. Anything that can be squeezed, twisted, turned, or otherwise manipulated easily with the hands is a great option.
If your child seems more aware when they’re biting, incentives are a great way to help divert their behavior into something more positive. Let them know that a week of nails that show no signs of biting will get them a special treat or a visit to somewhere extra fun. The good thing about nail biting is that it’s pretty telling. If your child bites, you can always see the signs! Working with your child in a gentle, patient way to help slowly work them out of turning to nail biting when they feel stressed is a great way to give them better overall coping skills while helping their skin, teeth, and nails stay healthy.
Keep It Cute!
For older girls who bite, a great option can be found in non-toxic nail polish. You can use this as an incentive, or put the polish on as a way to remind them not to bite. Polish that stays bite-free gets new colors and applications each week. Polish that gets bitten or chewed has to be removed.
What techniques have you used to help your child stop nail biting?
Share them with us in the comments below!