Wondering how to stop your child from biting her nails? Although nail biting can be a difficult habit to break, it’s not impossible! Circle of Moms members say the following seven strategies have helped put an end their to kids’ nail biting.
1. “No Bite” Nail Polish
Many moms of former nail biters recommend using one of the clear nail polishes specifically designed to help stop a nail biting habit. As Circle of Moms member Danielle C. shares, the bitter taste of the dried, non-toxic polish is a strong deterrent to putting fingers in mouths: "My four year-old was practically chewing her fingers off until I used that stuff. It only took about two weeks of use, and I haven’t seen her bite her nails since."
2. Manicure Day
Promising a pretty manicure every week is another good way to motivate kids to stop biting their nails. Cynthia D. shares: “We would have a mommy and daughter manicure day […] as long as she didn't bite them. She's 12 now and we still have our manicure time together."
3. Stress Relief
Some children resort to nail biting when anxious or stressed, so try talking to your child to see if something is bothering him. Also, as Angelina K. suggests, a stress ball might help: “You could give them something small to hold, i.e. sqeezable balls, rubber balls. A great idea is to fill a balloon with play sand and have her squeeze it or play with it.”
4. Oral Substitutes
Sometimes, a desire for oral stimulation is why children bite their nails. In that case, providing something like sugarless gum or lollipops might be helpful. As Corrine E. shares: “When I was younger my family would give me lollipops or something along those lines to take my mind off chewing my nails.”
5. Cover Hands
Covering up your child’s fingers may be another way to help break a nail biting habit, say many moms. “You might be able to put Band-Aids on your 3-year-old to get it to stop,” Shannon G. advises. And Kristie E. adds: “You can also wrap them for a few weeks with either gloves or medical tape.”
Can hypnosis help stop nail biting? Some Circle of Moms members say yes. “If you have the means you could try hypnosis,” recommends Rosetta A. “[It] really works."
Some moms suggest there’s nothing like good old-fashioned bribery to end your child’s nail biting habits. As Lori F. recalls of her son: “He told us that he wanted a battery powered 4-wheeler for his birthday. We told him that if he would stop biting his nails, he could have one. He stopped instantly! ...Sometimes if there is something they love or want bad enough, you can reward with that to help stop it.”
Do you have another tip for putting an end to nail biting?