How to Stop your Child from Biting his or her Nails

Nail biting is an annoying habit – and one that can be difficult for children to break. Children, especially young children, don’t always pay much attention to breaking bad habits and the constant reminder of “Get your fingers out of your mouth” doesn’t always do the trick either. But, it’s not like you can have a child biting his or her nails until there’s no more nail left to bite. If the problem can’t be left, it must be stopped. So, how are you supposed to stop a child from biting nails? Here are a few simple tips.

When a child is biting their nails, instead of telling the child to stop, pull the child’s hand away from his or her mouth or gently tap the hand that’s being chewed on. Nail biting is often done absent-mindedly. So, if a child’s attention is focused on something else, chances are they won’t hear you telling them to not bite their nails. Pulling the hand away from the mouth or tapping the hand brings a child back to reality because they feel your touch. The action could be accompanied by the verbal reminder. If a child’s nails aren’t so short to the point where it would be painful to do this, rub garlic, pepper, or chilies on the child’s fingers. The unpleasant taste on his or her fingers will stop a nail-biter instantly. After a few mouthfuls of garlic-nails, the child will stop putting his fingers in his mouth altogether. Put band aids around each fingertip. A child can’t bite his or her nails when they’re wrapped securely with bandages. If a child absent-mindedly puts starts gnawing on his or her fingertip only to find that there’s something plasticy wrapped around it, he or she will stop. Remove the band aids once you see that your child no longer has the urge to stick his or her fingers into his or her mouth. Every time you see the child chewing on its nails, make him or her sit on their hands. It’s uncomfortable, yes. It’s restricting, yes. However, this will get the point across to the child very clearly that he or she must break the habit. It’s not the most pleasant way to go about it, but it does do the trick.

Before you go trying to help your child break the nail-biting habit, explain to the child why it’s necessary. When children chew on their nails, all the dirt and grime that’s stuck underneath goes into their digestive system filling them with germs and who knows what else. Once the point is clear, follow these tips to help your child break the bad habit.