It’s not uncommon for children to chew their nails and, like picking their nose, most grow out of the habit. Here are a few Dos and Don’ts in the meantime:
- Watch closely
If you notice common times or situations when your child bites his nails, you may be able to avert the habit in the first place. If he’s nibbling while he’s in the car, for example, it could be he’s just bored, so try giving him a toy to play with instead.
- Discuss hygiene
Encourage your little one to wash his hands regularly, seeing as they’re in his mouth so often.
- Be patient
The majority of kids outgrow the habit on their own.
Many parents think of nail biting as a nervous habit and worry their child is anxious about something, but the truth is children bite their nails for a variety of reasons, not just stress. A nail-biter might be bored, imitating other kids, making a transition from thumb sucking, or simply have poorly trimmed nails.
Constantly having a go at your child for biting his nails won’t make any difference, so save your breath.
- Be a hypocrite
As with so many habits, leading by example works best. Discourage older siblings from biting their nails, and if you bite yours, start practising what you preach!