Children Nail Biting

As parents, we hate our children start biting their nails.  It’s like subconscious thing we do:  we yell at them, or grab their hand, saying “no!”, but we also fail to understand that this is a habit formed by repetition, and so, it is difficult for the child to stop biting their nails just because you said NO, in fact, by saying NO, you may be reinforcing the habit.

Children start biting their nails for a variety of reasons; the most common are anxiety and nervousness, but also out of boredom or hungry.  So the first step should be talking to your child about the nail biting issue.  They may give you a clue about the reason they get anxious or nervous.  Some children start developing this habit when they parents get divorced for example.

The next step should be replacing the habit for other distractions.  Say for example that you are sitting with your child and he starts biting his nails.  Now is the time to be more clever, don’t say no (saying no is as strong as saying yes, perhaps even more), instead, distract him.  Give him a toy to help him forget about the nail biting habit or start a game. 

If your child is a girl, and you are her mother, you can help her by first talking to her about the issue, and showing her your nails, telling her that she will look better with good nails.  But be positive, children tend to make fun at each other and she may be suffering this from classmates at school.

Although nail biting will probably go away on its own, some conducts like chewing your nails may be a sign of excessive anxiety.  This will make your child bite the nails to the point of bleeding.  In these case is best to first talk to a doctor to help you and your kid overcome this bad habit.

Children Nail Biting
Toddler Nail Biting
A Parent’s Intro to Child Nail Biting