How to Stop Biting Nails - Childrens
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Some of the techniques for fighting nail biting in adults, which
are described here, apply to children as well.
However, since children are different and the reasons why they bite their nails are not exactly
the same, not all tips are applicable to them. Instead, there are
some additional tips and approaches, that are good especially with
Decide if you should do anything.
might sound a very strange tip, but actually often not doing
anything is just the way to deal with a juvenile nail biter. Why?
Because the majority of children do it at one or other time of their
lives and then stop it. So if your child is biting his or her nails
occasionally, you could first try the passive approach of waiting
for him or her to stop. And if there are no signs that the child
will stop, this has been going on for a long time without a clear
reason, the child is constantly and intensively biting his or her
nails, or there are other worrying nervous habits, like picking at
their skin or pulling their hair, then you should intervene but
first consult a paediatrician about which measures are applicable
and which not.
Reduce the stress in her or his life.
this tip might look shocking at first but children are subject to
stress as well. While the problems and the sources of problems for a
child differ from ours, the tension they feel is as strong as ours.
For instance, kids often suffer when they are moving to a new place
– house, school, kindergarten or when there are problems in
the family like a divorce or frequent quarrels. So if you can reduce
the stress in a child's life, he or she will stop biting their
nails, if the biting is stress related. In this relation, it is
necessary to clarify that you must keep the child safe from stress,
not from ordinary life hardships like difficulties at school or
cries for a new toy.
Use the carrot, rather than
the stick approach.
If you develop a system of rewards for
not biting his or her nails, you will achieve better results in
comparison to when you scold or punish him or her. However, be
careful not to spoil the child – getting a new toy for every
“nail biting-free” day is too much. Nagging or punishing
usually have the adverse effect – you just make the child more
tense and he or she feels even more like biting his or her nails.
Also, depending on the temper of the child, using force might make
him or her obstinate and he or she will continue to bite his or her
nails on deliberately.
The magic of nail polish.
This works for older
girls. Just make them understand that their hands look ugly when the
nails are bitten and because of their strange shape, no nail polish
is applicable. Reminding them how beautiful the long and colorful
nails of their favorite singer or actress are also works.
Help the child become aware that nail biting is not good.
When children are very young, let's say 3 or 4 years old, it
might take a lot of patience to explain to them that nail biting is
wrong. This is especially true, if children are in a nail-biting
environment – for instance in kindergarten or at school
(having in mind that the majority of pupils at the age of 10 bite
their nails, it is useless to say that if you bite your nails, your
classmates will laugh at you). It is especially bad if there are
nail-biters in the family – older brothers or sisters, or even
the parents themselves. The example and influence of older family
members is unavoidable and in this case you need to concentrate not
only on the child but on the other nail biters as well.
At least make them wash their hands frequently.
biting is hardly a deadly disease but there is a certain risk of
infection. To decrease this risk, make the child wash his or her
hands frequently. It is unknown if clean nails are less delicious
but at least you minimize the risk of picking an infection, when his
or her hands are constantly in the mouth.
Use nasty nail polish only if you really have to.
While for adults awfully-tasting nail polishes are a solution,
for children they are not recommendable. If you are an adult, it is
your decision to polish your nails with the nastiest compound on
earth, while when you are a child and somebody else does this to
you, it is regarded as unfair punishment. So use this only if you
really have no other chance.
Other physical obstacles.
For some children this
is a totally acceptable approach that reminds them not to bite their
nails. Physical obstacles include less punitive measures than a
nasty-tasting nail polish, like colored bands on the fingers or
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