As a parent, you may notice lots of your baby’s freakish habits like thumb sucking, nose picking, and tooth grinding. Nail-biting is one of them. So how to stop your child from biting their nails?
You don’t have to worry about such peculiar activities as it’s a common habit for every baby. Researchers have estimated that nail-biting habits are common to 30% to 60% of kids.
The nail-biting habit goes with time as your toddler grows. Gastro-intestinal infections, nail infection, skin infection, paronychia, abdominal pain are a few of the health impacts of nail-biting.
So, if babies keep on biting nails for several years, you need to make them stop biting their nails to reduce the risk of health issues.
Why Babies Bite Nails?
Nail-biting in childhood is a common habit for the majority of children. It may seem natural for you at first, but, daily habit of nail-biting might trouble you. To give you an idea of why your toddler bites nails, I have indexed a few of the reasons for encouraging nail-biting patterns among children.
Sign of Boredom
A child develops a habit of biting nails when nothing is pressing for them to do. A child is bored when they are tired of repeating the same daily schedule for playing and nagging mom and dad.
Kids biting a nail is a cause for teeth coming in. When teeth start to erupt, the gums are itchy and irritating for babies. They need something to press on their gums to reduce the stress. Some babies bite their parents, sofas, or spongy balls, while in the absence of these mediums, they start to bite their fingertips.
Concentration is also another reason for biting nails. Most babies bite nails when reading or sharing baby’s nails daily so that the nail surface lowers, and they find it difficult to bite nails and eventually stop.
8 Ways to Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails
1. Trim your Baby’s Nails
Uncut nails consist of dirt and germs, which is not healthy for your baby. When they bite nails, the bacteria on nails contact their mouth that introduces health issues like infection in the mouth, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
When your kid gets a cut from nails, they get a skin infection from the transfer of germs and dirt from nail tips to skin. Thus, make sure you frequently trim your baby’s nails and clean cuticles to reduce skin problems and nail-biting habits.
2. Tell them Nail-biting is Gross.
If your little ones develop a habit of nail-biting or often do, talk to them. Tell your child nail-biting is a bad habit, and nobody likes you if you repeat that. Teach your child about hygiene and, most likely, diseases caused by biting nails regarding skin infection and gastrointestinal problems.
For the toddlers, who cannot understand any of your medical words, drag their hands whenever they reach out to the mouth. Act as if you are annoyed by their nail-biting habit. If you repeat taking down your baby’s hand when they start to bite their nails, they slowly tend to stop their habit of nail-biting.
3. Use an Alternative Solution
Always find a substitute for a child to stop nail-biting. Give them something to eat as soon as they start to bite their nails. Offer them chocolates or snacks or something sweet to keep busy and disturbed from biting nails.
Let them play out with other kids to keep them engaged. Surround them with toys and be around them to keep them busy and forget that they used to bite nails. You can also give them spongy rubber balls or soft fabric if nail-biting is caused due to teething. Substitutes for nail-biting habits for children are always helpful. Try it.
4. Don’t punish
Punishment is not always a solution for removing bad habits. If your kid keeps on biting nails despite trimming their nails, making them understand health consequences, offering alternatives, or leaving it unless they want to stop the habit. If you keep on nagging for biting nails, they might continue doing so as fun to annoy you.
Ensure you wash your little one’s hands timely and cut their nails. Frequent hand washes and trimming nails keep the nails free of dirt and bacteria. If you act harshly towards your kids regarding nail bites, it might add stress to your child, encouraging them to continue the nail-biting habits.
5. Use Nail Coating
There is numerous alternative nail polish in the market specially introduced to help people stop the nail-biting habit. You can easily find a nail polish that is bitter when you put your polished nails in your mouth.
Use nail polish to coat your baby’s nails to discard nail-biting habits. Whenever they put nails on their mouth, a bitter taste prevents them from nail-biting. Such nail polish is not harmful to babies, or you can consult dermatologists or doctors to be aware of polish side effects.
6. Play a Reward Game
Play a reward game with your child to make them stop biting nails. You can use a calendar to mark the nail-biting or no nail-biting day. Tell your kid to mark a calendar with a sticker the day they don’t bite nails. At the end of the week or month, buy anything they want, treat them, or plan an outing on the weekend.
Based on the stickers on a calendar, you can also promise your child to give extra dollars on saving so that they are encouraged to stop nail-biting. It is preferable to use a reward system to help your toddler stop biting nails since it is more engaging.
7. Make them engaged
Another effective way to stop your little one from biting nails is keeping them intact with several fun activities and games. Babies usually bite nails when they are free and have nothing to do. You make them play with their toys, do pillow fights with them, or keep on making babbling sounds and tease each other.
Encourage your child to enroll in creative activities such as coloring books, trying puzzle games, and going for an outing or walk. You can tell them to hand in kitchen work like baking, cooking, or playing recipe games.
8. Identify Reason for Nail-bite
Stress, frustration, boredom, and anxiety cause children to bite their nails. Whenever they are nervous, they bite their nails, considering it as a stress relief method. So, parents, talk to your kiddo and find out what makes your child nervous and make sure you remove those habits.
Don’t let the nail-biting habits of your child take over nervousness. Whenever they get a trigger for stress, boredom, and frustrating behavior, keep them occupied with fun activities, including playing, learning creative works, taking a walk to the park, and so on.
Nail-biting is a habit for most children. The nail-biting habit is a phase that sways away at a certain age, but parents must exercise timely precaution if it becomes a habit. Boredom, teething, frustration, hunger, etc., causes nail-biting among children.
Skin infection, gastrointestinal problems, and abdominal pain are common health impacts caused by nail-biting habits. I have proposed eight tips and tricks to make your kid stop biting their nails, and I hope these solutions are helpful for you and your child.