Stop Nail BitingNail biting is a more common problem than most people realize.  It is so common, in fact, that it has its own medical terminology.  Nail biting is called onychophagia.   This bad habit is more common in children than it is in adults.  Nearly fifty percent of children between the ages of ten and eighteen admit to biting their nails.  It is important to arm children with the tools necessary to stop nail biting.  Most people naturally outgrow this problem by the age of thirty, but for some it is a habit that follows them throughout their life.  Nail biting can escalate into a full blown obsessive disorder in a small percentage of people.  People with a serious nail biting habit might require special help in order to stop nail biting. The two most common causes of nail biting in children are anxiety and boredom.  If you can identify the root cause of your child’s habit you will be one step closer to getting them to stop nail biting. 

Stop Nail Biting by Discussing the Problem

If you notice that you child has suddenly begun biting their nails you should sit down and have a non threatening talk with them.  Don’t yell at them forStop Nail Biting developing this habit.  Yelling will only make matters worse if the cause for their nail biting is anxiety. Ask them how things are going at school or with their friends.  Ask if there is anything new going on that they would like to talk about.  Are they feeling overwhelmed by a new class?  If you find that things are relatively stress free in their life then their problem most likely stems from boredom.  Keep an eye on them around the house and take note of what is going on when they bite their nails.  Do they usually bite their nails while watching television or listening to music?  This would indicate an unconscious habit. It is essential to communicate to your child how important it is to stop nail biting and commit to tackle the problem together.

Tips to Stop Nail Biting

Stop Nail BitingThere are many methods that can be used to help a child stop nail biting.  My favorite technique to get young children to quit biting nails uses bandages.  Take your child to the store and allow them to pick out a box of bandages with their favorite cartoon character on them.  Place a bandage on each fingertip whenever you’re at home.  Your child will love wearing bandages with cartoons on them and will leave them on for quite some time.  This will cover the nails up and become a barrier to biting.  This method is very fun for both you and your child and really works to stop nail biting.  If your daughter is too old for fun bandages try purchasing her some stylish gloves.  She might actually enjoy accessorizing with them and they will also provide a barrier to nail biting long enough to break the habit.  Your boys probably won’t want to accessorize with gloves so you can try brushing a bitter tasting substance on the fingernails to remind them to stop nail biting.