Children usually start to chew their nails around the age of 2. For you, this is an immediate sign of anxiety, of stress… Rest assured, this is not always the case. And this mania can go away as quickly as it has come, provided it has the right attitude.
My Child Is Biting His Nails … Why?
You didn’t think you had to deal with onychophagia – a medical (and barbaric) name for the mania of biting your nails – before adolescence. And there, surprise, he looks at Tchoupi and sucking his thumb again, your child sucks and nervously chews his fingers.
Apart from the aesthetic aspect, the swallowed nails, the small wounds that can appear and the problem of hygiene are all reasons to take the problem to arms the body, in order to avoid that the habit becomes more established. To do this, the first step is to identify the cause.
“Like adults, biting your nails can lead to stress, anxiety or insecurity in your child. Often behind these emotions is a change that has affected the child, ” says Sandrine Dury.
Moving home, the arrival of a last in the family, separation, but also a new nanny or mistress, change of pace…: first try to understand what may have upset him in these habits, in order to engage the discussion with him.
My Child Is Biting His Nails… How Do I React?
First common sense reflex: to cut her nails short and to file them, to avoid temptations. Encourage them to wash their hands regularly for hygiene reasons.
Then resist your temptation to tell him to stop all day long. Instead, try to create a distraction, for example by offering him to go and buy a doudou that he can cuddle and manipulate in the moments when he is used to biting his nails: by watching a cartoon, in the car…
Watch Out For The Bitter Varnish:
if the little girls will often be excited by the idea in the first place, one soon notices that this type of product tends to leave an unpleasant taste to the children who eat bread or cakes, suck their thumb or learn to brush their teeth…
Look For The Causes Of Onychophagy
– Most of the time, children start to chew their nails as a result of a life-changing stressor. It is up to you to find out what this new event is that has upset your child’s daily life: the birth of a little brother or sister, a death, the job loss of one of the parents, a change of school following a move… The change may be banal to your eyes but frighteningly anxious your child. In this case, biting your nails is just another way to express your nervousness.
– Less worrisome, it may be that
your sweetheart is just showing off to someone in her life like a parent, a schoolmate or even the babysitter! It is therefore up to them to stop in this case…
– Too much time spent in front of a screen, TV or computer, can also be a stressor. Moreover, television, which places children in a passive state, prevents them from being aware of their actions. Thus, many people chew their nails without noticing.
Your Child Is Biting His Nails, What To Do?
It is often from childhood that one begins to chew the nails. A sign of stress and nervousness, this phenomenon affects two out of three children. Also called onychophagy, this mania is finally quite banal. But she’s also tough. Here are some ways to free your child…
Some Tips To Stop Him From Biting His Nails
Listen And Take The Right Attitude
– First of all, be a teacher. Start by explaining that this action is not healthy for his health because the hands carry many bacteria. By carrying them to his mouth, he only moves them into an environment that is even more conducive to microbes.
– Cut your child’s nails regularly, it will reduce the temptation to eat them. Also consider keeping your hands as busy as possible with manual activities such as modeling clay, painting, building games, cooking with you…
– Varnish has proven its worth in some people. In children, this will only be effective if they agree. If the varnish is experienced as a punishment, there is little chance that it will be effective.
How Do I React If My Child Chews His Nails?
The first thing is to understand the cause. Try to think about the changes that might have upset your child and don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you feel your child is anxious. If the onychophagy is not related to stress, then you can try to find solutions for it to stop. Biting your nails is not a very hygienic practice, as there are millions of bacteria on your hands.
What Solutions To Stop Biting Your Nails?
The first solution is to cut his nails. From then on, your child will no longer be able to eat them. Another particularly effective solution is bitter varnish. There’s nothing like it to disgust a child. This nail polish is very unpleasant, no doubt your child will stop biting his nails. The third option is to take care of your child. Maybe biting your nails is a lack of activity. Give him some modeling clay or any other game of this style that keeps his hands busy. And, of course, do not hesitate to communicate with him by explaining that biting your nails is not good, that it is not clean and that it would be better to stop.
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