Nail biting in children is a pretty common occurrence. Your child might bite her nails for several reasons such as boredom, curiosity or to relieve stress or just out of it being a habit. Whichever the case, you ought to get your child to top biting her nails. But first, you should understand that nail biting is one of the top habits that people refer to as nervous habits. It is in the same category with other habits that include nose picking, hair twisting, thumb sucking, tooth grinding and tugging. If not dealt with at an early stage, the habit can be carried right into adulthood.
Being a stress reliever, preschoolers may turn to it as a method of coping with all the anxiety they have building up of learning new things in school and such like things. If this is the case, then he/she will stop on his/her own. However, if it goes on for a period longer than you can allow, you can step in and help them stop it before it turns into a habit that they cannot stop. The following are some of the ways that you can help them stop.
Address your child’s anxieties
Nail biting is for the most part not a problem but a symptom and a sign that there is an underlying problem that needs to be dealt with. You should make it your mission to know what is making your child anxious or stressed and address it. It may be a divorce a recent move or the new school for example. You should make it your personal goal to get to the bottom of it and talk it through.
Do not punish or nag
Not unless your child really wants to get over the nail biting habit, there is not much that you can do to help. Like most nervous habits, biting of nails tends to be an unconscious habit – they do not realize that they are doing it. And if the child is not aware when she is doing it, punishing and nagging will not get you anywhere.
Help her/him when she/he feels she wants to stop
When the other kids start teasing her/him about the habit and she feels the need to get over the behavior, you should be ready and willing to help her out. you should first talk about the teasing, encouraging her to open up to you about how it makes him/her feel and reassure him/her that regardless of how his/her nails look like, you will love them the same. After this, you can move on to tackle the issue at hand.