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How to Stop Biting Nails - Childrens

Tags: nail biting in children, how to stop nail biting in children, nail polish for nail biters, nail biter polish

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 children:

  • Decide if you should do anything.
    It 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.
    Again, 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.
    Nail 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 mittens.

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