Fed Up With Toddler Nail Biting?
Are you worried about toddler nail biting? I was a nail biter when I was a little girl and it was terrible! I am so glad that my son is not very interested in biting his nails. There were underlying reasons why I bit my nails as a child. I felt this topic was important to discuss.
We tend to believe that you only bite your nails when you are nervous. This is not always the case, especially in toddlers. Your toddler may be doing it for a number of other less worrisome reasons, out of curiosity or boredom, to relieve stress, to pass the time, or simply from force of habit. Of all the nervous habits — which include thumb sucking, hair twisting, and nose picking — nail biting is the most common.
Toddler Nail Biting Tips
What can you do to help your toddler stop biting their nails? There are some things that you can try, but ultimately it may be a habit and they are likely to stop on their own. Here are a few tips that you may be willing to try.
Be Patient and Ignore
Yep, that’s correct! Do nothing but wait and watch. Your toddler's nail biting is an unconscious habit, which means he doesn't realize he's doing it, until you call attention to it. Do your best to ignore the habit and all of a sudden one day you'll realize it's gone. I know this will be hard to do but give it a try. Now I actually was a nail biter until high school………:( I did eventually stop, so there is hope for other children.
Keep their little hands “busy”. Provide a distraction.
Try and pinpoint the times and places when your toddler is likely to bite his nails. For example, while watching TV or riding in the car. Are they in the bathtub or at a park? If you can do this than try giving them objects to keep their hands busy.
Nail Biting Distractions:
- Balls Squeezable
- Bendable action figures
- Finger Puppets
- Stuffed Animals
It is very Important that you keep their fingernails cut short AT ALL TIMES! That way there is no temptation for toddler nail biting.
One of the most frustrating things about raising toddlers is the fact that they are oblivious to reason. So punishing your toddler to stop nail-biting will not work. Offering incentives to your child like painting her nails with nail polish, and telling your child how disgusting the habit is, are all likely to either fail or possibly even make the habit worse. That is because toddlers seem to measure attention in QUANTITY instead of QUALITY so they will accept any type of attention from you, even negative.
Ask Your Pediatrician For Advice
Ask your pediatrician for advice: You will likely be told that the habit will fade on its own. However, be sure to mention if your child s nail-biting causes bleeding or occurs in conjunction with self-destructive behavior. Your child may have an abnormally high stress or anxiety level that is causing these behaviors.
Other child behavior experts recommend praising your child when they DO NOT bite their nails. You may just be over looking what their needs are currently, resulting in toddler nail biting. It may be that boosting his self-esteem in this way is what is needed. Every toddler is different, so consider what generally works for your child.
Also, consider if the toddler nail biting is caused by a stressful event, such as attending a new daycare, moving to a new house, or even watching a video or hearing a story read that is a little too exciting or scary. Many sources of toddler stress we cannot even read. So it is important to talk to your toddler and address his fears. You will be surprised. Just because they are toddlers does not mean that you can’t listen and understand what they are feeling. It is amazing at 3 years old the talks my son and I have together.
** I am not a Doctor or Licensed Professional in the field of toddler nail biting. I am a stay at home Mom passing on tips, advice and information that are based on my opinions. Always remember to consult your pediatrician with serious questions concerning your child and their development.*
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