How to Stop Toddler Nail Bitingby Doug Hewitt
Your toddler may develop habits such as thumb sucking and hair twirling, but according to CVS Health Resources, nail biting is the most common. It is also the habit that is most likely to be carried through into adulthood. Your toddler may be nail biting for a number of reasons such as to pass the time, boredom, to relieve stress or out of habit. Although most children will grow out of nail biting, there are a number of steps you can take to help stop a toddler from biting her nails.
Items you will need
- Rubber ball
- Finger puppets
- Fingernail clippers
Record the times of day or the activities the toddler is involved with when nail biting occurs. This could be an activit,y such as watching television, or a time of day, such as just before mealtime. You may need to observe the toddler for several days to recognize patterns.
Give the toddler a substitute activity that by default will replace nail biting. For example, give the toddler a rubber ball to play with. Finger puppets will also keep the toddler occupied while covering the nails, preventing them from being bitten.
Talk to your toddler about any anxieties the toddler may be feeling. The toddler may not be able to express these anxieties, so you may have to continue the conversation until the toddler reveals something that is troubling. Recent experiences such as parents divorcing or a family move may be sources of anxiety.
Remind the toddler when nail biting occurs. Because it may be a subconscious habit, he may not even recognize the habit.
Cut her fingernails short, at least partially removing the temptation.
Encourage the toddler to stop biting her nails. Encouragement can work, but the toddler needs to want to quit. Continue a dialogue with the toddler and wait. In most cases, she will stop the habit.
- Understanding that nail biting may be a subconscious habit can help you to understand that simply setting rules may not be effective.
- Punishing the toddler or using harsh language may cause him to embrace the habit out of defiance.
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