Your child may bite his nails for any number of reasons
- Stress relief
Nail-biting is the most common of the so-called “nervous habits,” which include thumb-sucking, nose picking, hair twisting or tugging, and teeth grinding. It’s also the one most likely to continue into adulthood.
Growing up can make kids anxious, and many of these tensions and pressures are invisible to parents. If your child bites moderately and unconsciously (while watching television, for example), or if he tends to bite in response to specific situations (such as performances or tests), it’s just his way of coping with minor stress and you have nothing to worry about.
How To Stop Nail Biting
1. Cut His/Her Nails Daily
Cutting your child’s nails lessens the surface area under the nails—which means less dirt and grime. Then, if he does bite his nails, there will be fewer bacteria that gets into his mouth. Take good care of the cuticles, too; bacteria that get into the skin surrounding the nail can cause a nasty infection. Keep a small nail file or clippers in your purse or on his own personal key chain. Sometimes, a snagged nail is simply too much to resist.
2. Aloe Vera
- Aloe Vera is a plant with a very bitter tasting juice. You can grow it at home.
- If you split open one of the leaves and rub the gel on the fingertips, it will make them taste awful.
- This will have the same effect as a commercial treatment, however the taste doesn’t last as long on the nails.
- By the way, aloe vera gel is a wonderful natural treatment for burns, so it is well worth having a plant somewhere in your garden.
3. The Rubber Band Method
A method which often works for older children and teenagers who want to stop biting nails is or them to wear a rubber band loosely around the wrist. Loom band bracelets work well or just a normal rubber band. Remember not to have it too tight, as it can cut of circulation!
- Simply teach your child to snap the bracelet against the wrist each time nail biting occurs.
- The idea is that your child will begin to associate nail biting with a little bit of pain, and it will discourage the habit.
- The rubber band method makes your child personally responsible for controlling his or her habit, and will bring a sense of achievement when the habit is kicked.
4. Self Adhesive Bandages
Placing band aids or similar adhesive strips around the fingertips is another way to prevent fingernails from being bitten.
- I would recommend starting with just one nail. As that grows, make a point to your child that that is the nail NOT to bite. Then start on a second nail. Eventually you should be able to narrow it down to just one nail being bitten.
- Place the strip so that the pad is directly over the nail itself, and replace each day.