Nail biting is a common bad habit for many people. Research shows that about 60% of children and 45% of teenagers bite their nails. Other than the unhealthy aspects of this practice, such as sore, red fingers or harmful effects on the teeth-nail biting can often make a child self-conscious.
Why do some kids bite their nails? It can begin as a nervous habit that a child starts when they are bored or anxious. Once it starts, it provides a short-term relief from these things. Sometimes, it just becomes a habit that ‘s hard to stop.
Here are some tips to help children stop nail biting:
- Keep your child’s nail trimmed short. This gives them less to “chew” on.
- There are some bad-tasting products available for you to put on a child’s fingertips and nails to discourage biting.
- Provide your child with other things like silly putty or a stress ball to hold and keep their hands busy.
- Gently intervene when you see your child begin to bite their nails. For older children, set goals like one day without biting and celebrate each milestone, no matter how tiny.
- Make sure you don’t model nail biting because they are always watching!
Children who bite their nails usually grow out of it, so don’t stress. Just support your child as they learn new strategies to use in place of the habit of nail biting.