What to Do About Nail-Biting?

Your child may bite his nails for any number of reasons – curiosity, boredom, stress relief, habit, or imitation. 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.

What to do against nail biting?

Address anxieties.

If you have an idea about what might be making your child anxious – a recent move, a divorce in the family, a new school, or an upcoming piano recital – make a special effort to help her talk about her worries.

Don’t nag or punish.

In general, as long as your child’s not hurting himself and doesn’t seem overly stressed out, your best bet is to keep his fingernails neatly trimmed, remind him to wash his hands often, and try to keep your attention focused elsewhere. If you pressure him to stop, you’ll just add to his stress and risk intensifying the behavior.

Help when she wants to stop.

If your child’s friends are teasing her, she may be ready to stop – and she’ll need your help.

First, talk to her about the teasing and encourage her to tell you how it makes her feel. Reassure her that you love her no matter what her nails look like. Then move on to possible solutions.

Source: Baby Center