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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!

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How to Stop Kids from Nail Biting



By Martha Sanders


I started to bite my nails when I was about 5 years old. It was a bad habit I picked up from an uncle. He would chew his nails whenever deep in thoughts or feeling nervous. Thankfully, I broke my nail biting habit as I grew older and started to get closer to boys. I knew at that time what beautiful nails can do to attract the opposite sex.


So, when I noticed my youngest daughter peeling and biting her nails, I was very concerned. I knew I have to arrest this problem at the earliest stage otherwise it can become strong and remain with her for the rest of her life. Here’s a list of stop nail biting habit tips that has helped me tremendously.


What Can You Stop Nail Biting in Children?


Educate your kid:
Most of the time, children are unaware that they are chewing their fingernails. Make sure to remind your child of his or her habit. Explain how dangerous nail biting can be to her health – when she puts her fingers into her mouth, all the germs and dirt in the nails enters the body and causes nail infections and warts which are not only unsightly but can also make her sick.


Emphasize that nail biting can also cause dental problems. Like most young children, my daughter is afraid of dental visits so that is enough to break her nail biting habit.




Pay attention to your kid:
Observe your little one carefully and ask yourself ‘what makes him or her chew nails?’ ‘Is junior biting regularly or rarely?’ Once you pick up these tell-tale signs, it becomes easier to tackle the condition.


If nail biting indicate a high sign of anxiety, sit down and talk to your kid about his problems. He may have difficulties in school or in some other areas of his life. Offer to help him adjust with whatever stressful situations he may be facing at the moment.




Keeping hands busy all time:
Apart from being anxious or stressed, kids chew their nails because of boredom. Keeping their hands busy can divert them from biting their nails

Some parents suggest knitting or crochet but in my own opinion, this may not be feasible unless you are a knitter yourself. I would rather suggest Play Dough instead – it is ideal for any age group and at the same time, helps children develop creativity skills.




Controlling temptation:
One of the reasons for
nail biting in kids is temptation. If you find temptation to be the main reason, make your kid to wear cotton gloves or finger puppets during those vulnerable times.



Cutting the nails:
Cut nails at regular intervals to help keep your kid away from
nail biting. Remember that poor trimming of the nails makes your kid want to bite them. So keep a check on their nails and ensure that they are trimmed and well buffered.


If you can afford, get a professional manicure. It resists the temptation to bite when their fingernails look really good and nice.


Alternatively, you can buy bitter nail polish at drugstores to discourage nail biting. This nail polish is clear and a little bitter, once the fingernails go in the mouth, the kid tastes a very unpleasant but harmless flavour.



Do not punish:
It takes time to
stop nail biting. So, your role as a parent is to encourage kids when they are progressing well. However, let me remind you not to reward kids with food. Do not let wrong ideas etch in their young minds. Rewards is not synonymous with food – we are already facing a problem with child obesity.


how to stop kids from biting nails

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