How to stop toddler nail biting before it becomes a bad habit
Nail biting is a common habit that can be observed in all ages of humans. It is a bad habit as it can spread infections and be unhealthy for anyone who chews on their nails. This is especially true for toddlers who still have a developing immune system and this habit can cause serious health problems for them, so you should stop toddler nail biting as soon as you see them doing it.
As toddlers move around they will use their hands a lot and grab things with their nails. This causes their fingernails to fill up with dirt and grime. Therefore when they bite their nails the germs & bacteria enter to their body, so you definitely will want to stop toddler nail biting when you can. If they do bite their fingernails, it may cause serious problems simply like your baby will be more susceptible to cold or flu symptoms due to these bacterial infections. So the parents have to be more concerned at early stages about how to stop toddler nail biting to terminate this habit before they grow up and can contract life-threatening diseases.
Stop for a second and think about toddler nail biting. Would you want your toddler doing this habit that can have negative side effects to their health? If your child has this habit then you have to stop toddler nail biting sooner than later, or else this could continue into adulthood and never stop.
Toddler nail biting can start from them just putting their hands in their mouth or watching their parents do this habit as well. While nail biting can be explained because of anxiety or stress in the toddler’s life, you should consult with your pediatrician.
To stop toddler nail biting you must first find the issue that got them to bite their nails. Did you have a new nanny watch them that they are unfamiliar with? Situations like this can easily fill your toddlers life with stress and they will react by biting their nails. If you are unable to stop this habit when they are a toddler, it can be carried up to a higher school level too where your child may have to accept teasing from friends.
How To Stop Toddler Nail Biting?
At first you must observe your toddler and their nail biting habits for a few days. This will familiarize you with certain pieces of information. Do they only bite their nails in the morning, afternoon or all the time? Do they bit their nails if you raise your voice a little bit? Take down as much information as you can and don’t stop until you have a good assessment of when your toddler nail biting habits start.
There are lots of techniques to stop toddler nail biting:
- Engage his/ her hands to stop toddler nail biting: If your toddler starts biting their nails at a certain time in the day, you can block their hands by giving them finger puppets, a stress relieving ball, or simply a toy which can keep them busy and take their mind off of wanting to bite their nails.
- You can give your toddler an alternative activity so that it can replace nail biting, like finger paints or a coloring book.
- If the nail biting is coming from anxiety or stress watch how they react in situations or try talking to them to see if they will signal to you in anyway what can be causing the problem and the eradicate it.
- Tell your toddler when they are biting their nails and physically take their hands out of their mouth. This could be a good sign for them to see that they need to stop toddler nail biting, since it is a subconscious habit and they won’t know if they are doing it half the time.
- Discuss this matter with him/her in a childish manner so that they can understand, and tell him not to bite their nails. Discussion can be truthful as your toddler may think to quit nail biting.
- Stop toddler nail biting by trying to give them a present when they don’t bite their nails. This can be something as little as a cookie for going the whole day without biting their nails.
- Stop toddler nail biting or at least make it harder by clipping their nails almost daily or every other day. This way you will keep them short enough that they can’t bite them and will they’ll eventually give up trying.
- Explain clearly about the negative effects of nail biting and that this habit can make them sick. Whenever you see your child is biting nails remind him / her about health problems.
- Do not place ill tasting deterrents on your child’s fingernails. This will not stop toddler nail biting, because your child will not understand the correlation between these things put on their fingernails and not to bite their nails.
- Keep your patience and don’t stop trying. Toddler nail biting is a bad habit and could just be from something as simple as being bored.
- You can also consult a pediatrician if you think that you won’t be able to stop your toddler’s nail biting. It could be a nervous tic, which will need to be verified by a doctor.
These are just some items to help stop toddler nail biting, but it all comes down to you as the parent. If you are persistent with your toddler, then there is a pretty good chance that they will follow your lead and stop this habit.
Toddler nail biting does have adverse effects on your children’s health, so this should be kept in mind when trying to wean them off of the habit and if they start to develop a disease or sickness. Make sure they are kept busy as it has been proven that toddlers will bite their nails while watching TV since it is a subconscious habit, so maybe all you will need to do to stop toddler nail biting is just reduce sedentary hours.