A nail biting finish!

  • By Team TDO

Nail biting is one of the most common habits in children. You must have noticed that whenever your child is nervous, when she is bored or watches TV, she bites her nail. If not treated or controlled in time, it may become a lifelong habit. Let us first understand why children bite nails.

Children bite their nails when they are bored, nervous, stressed, anxious, excited or just out of force of habit. They may get into this habit by observing family members or friends. You will often notice that children bite their nails while they are watching television or sitting in the class.

Nail biting is not life threatening, but it is unhygienic and may cause milder health problems. Children play and touch objects or surfaces which may have bacteria. These bacteria and dirt get deposited in their nails, which on putting in the mouth, get transferred in their stomach. They may catch a cold, get diarrhea, or suffer from stomachache as a result. Nail biting can sometimes also cause the front tooth to chip.

Here are tips to deal with nail biting:

  1. Spot nail biting before it turns into a habit. The later you deal with it, the harder it becomes to tackle.
  2. Identify the causes which trigger nail biting in children. It may be stress, boredom or nervousness. Addressing the root causes will help in dealing with the habit.
  3. Parents must spend time with their children to explain to them the ill effects of nail biting. Sometimes children do it subconsciously. In that case, interrupt your child whenever you find her biting the nails.
  4. Get your children to love their nails. You can use various stickers which can be applied on the nails. The stickers on may act as an incentive to your kids to stop biting nails.
  5. Use positive reinforcement to encourage children to quit nail biting. Offer them rewards such as going out on a picnic, getting them some good storybooks, or singing to them.