How to wean a child to bite his nails - 15 effective methods


When parents see that the baby has an ugly habit to hold hands in the mouth, they begin to look for effective means of how to wean the child's nail biting. The first impulse is to strictly stop this outrage in word and deed. However, the solution of a delicate problem does not tolerate fuss - it is necessary to sort out the causes and find the best solution so that the inept pedagogical influence does not aggravate the situation.

Why does the "nervous" habit

There are many reasons why children can bite their nails, out of curiosity or boredom, to relieve stress, or by inertia. One of the most common “nervous” bad habits, the list of which includes thumb sucking, picking in the nose, shuffling hair, and gnashing one's teeth. All of them, most often, grow up with the baby.

Marigolds with traces of teeth are often a way to survive and soften the intense, but fortunately, passing children's experiences. All the kids are worried about something - whether it is learning new things in kindergarten, or a feeling of insecurity at a holiday or a playground - these are the most popular motifs, but there are a lot of them.

If a child gnaws his nails, mainly in such situations, then this is his way of reliving stress and calming himself. In this case, do not worry - most likely, the baby just one day will stop doing it himself. However, if the process continues for too long, or it is a habit that parents cannot tolerate, there are simple ways to get rid of it. The choice of strategy depends on the age of the child and his willingness to work together with an adult.

Identify the cause of the hidden concern

If the child is 3 - 4 years old, it is necessary, without focusing on the habit, to observe the child. It may be possible to find out at what moments he pulls his hands in his mouth - for example, when he is watching an exciting cartoon. Then you can act pointwise - take small hands with your favorite cars, a teddy bear, a cracker.

If a specific trigger situation is not identified, then it is worth analyzing the life in the family - perhaps there is some global cause of hidden concern - moving, repairs, divorce of parents. Even if the child is too small to fully understand the situation, he feels the nervousness of adults. Parents need to discuss with the son or daughter the changes that occur in the family, in a language they understand, to reassure the little ones.

Do not blame and punish

The little man gnaws his nails unconsciously, this is typical of all nervous habits. If he does not even notice what he is doing, reprimand, prohibitions and punishments will be useless. Such a reaction of parents, rather, will have the opposite effect - the child can begin to do it on purpose, in order to show character or define the boundaries of the allowed. The baby can even hide with fingers in the mouth so that mom does not see.

Three-year-olds tend to get an emotional response from their parents; the brighter, the better, so loud cries without explanation will not exactly correct the situation. You can even wait for the moment when a beloved child puts his mother in the same habits. After all, adults often catch themselves on the same behavior - most parents, when they think about it, are ashamed to realize that they show similar behavior in some situations.

Minimize the damage from habit, remove provoking factors

In the case of babies, as long as the child doesn’t do much harm and doesn’t look too agitated, the best thing parents can do is to follow this strategy:

  • Briefly and gently cut the nails of the child, to reduce the desire to nibble rough edges with burrs.
  • Check that the baby's hands are washed, so that bacteria do not get into the mouth.
  • As far as possible, you can divert the attention of the baby to something else - for example, gently hold hands.

If it is hard to order to stop or pull away your hands, the stress will increase, there will be an emphasis on the negative, and the habit can only increase.

Any direct impact before the child is psychologically not ready to stop himself - for example, smearing nails with bitter solutions - will be perceived as a punishment, no matter what the parents think about it. At this age, the less the parents fuss around the habit, the more likely it is that it will not fix, and the child will stop himself. It’s enough to pay more attention to how mom and dad care for their nails, why they do it, and how great it is when the nails look beautiful.

Time and competently start a conversation that the nails do not belong in the mouth

If a bad habit is seen in a child older than 5-6 years old or a schoolchild, then soft hidden methods of struggle are no longer the best solution. Parents should not wait until other children start laughing at their son or daughter because of ugly nails, or an outside adult puts the child on to this behavior.

It is better if mom or dad begin a difficult conversation with their children for the first time. The same strategy will have to be chosen if the child goes to kindergarten - because in a group, parents cannot control the cleanliness of the baby’s hands, and a bad habit is already a real health hazard. Many children in three years are ready for a serious conversation.

In a conversation with a child you need to refrain from teaching, it is better to adhere to this algorithm:

  • To pay attention to a bad habit, to tell that many people, even adults, do such things and do not even notice it - pick their nose and teeth, bite their nails, so do ugly and unhealthy, because under the nails and on the arms during the day accumulate "malicious" bacteria. If they get into the mouth, then the person can get sick.
  • Then you need to help the child to realize in what situations he bites his nails - you can agree on a code gesture or word that the parents will first use to remind the child to stop. A physical reminder — patting on the shoulder or holding hands — may seem like a punitive measure to many children. Another option is to replace the undesirable action with something else, maybe funny, for example, say hello to your little finger, rub it, knock it on each other with your fists.

Together we choose a strategy to fight for beautiful nails.

There are many more ways that you can try to cope with an ugly habit - the main thing is that you need to choose them in cooperation with the child, taking into account his age and character:

  • colored stickers
  • patch,
  • funny faces painted on the nails
  • bonus system for beautiful nails,
  • children's manicure,
  • special bitter liquid
  • replacing with another action
  • a plate of dried fruits or crackers (replacing the habit of biting your nails with snacks, you must proceed with caution).

Different children prefer different techniques. The more the child feels like a partner, the more successful the process will be.

Why does a child get used to nail biting?

Pediatric doctors and psychologists call stress and nerve overload the main cause of this phenomenon. They are more characteristic of school-age children, but they can occur in babies from 3 to 6 years old, although this happens very rarely.

In medicine, there are two forms of pathology:

  1. onychophagy - the habit of unconsciously nibbling the nail plate, bringing temporary pleasure,
  2. dermatophagia - a condition in which a child bites not only the nail, but also the skin / cuticle around it.

Pediatricians distinguish two groups of causes leading to the development of onychology: physiological and emotional (psychological).

Psychological reasons

  • Too early (or, on the contrary, later) weaning from the pacifier or chest.

Sucking is the most important need of a baby, thanks to which it satisfies the innate reflex and calms down. If the pussy is not ready for weaning, the result may be the habit of gnawing at the nails (especially in case of nervous shocks).

  • Increased activity of the nervous system.

This condition is manifested by excitability with any emotional upheavals (both positive and negative).

Such children are often hyperactive, which harms their psychological development. Gnawing nails helps to relieve stress in this situation.

  • Unfavorable situation in the family.

The habit of biting nails often affects children raised by a grandmother or living with one of the parents. Onychophagy in this case is a means of calm and a manifestation of internal protest against a stressful situation. Also react children in whose families there are constant scandals and quarrels. Parents should remember that in no case can you sort things out with children, let alone raise your voice and speak in a hostile tone.

The time when a child has to be sent to kindergarten can bring a lot of problems to parents, since the baby still does not know how to communicate within a large team. The next adaptation period, which increases the likelihood of oniophagy, is enrolling in school (6-7 years). In these critical moments, parents should be as caring and attentive as possible to children.

If older children in the family or peers in the kindergarten bite their nails, the child may unconsciously repeat these movements, since the collective instinct is most developed between the ages of 3 to 5-6 years.

  • View cartoons and computer games.

The maximum allowed time for watching cartoons and TV shows is 1.5-2 hours per day. Some parents allow their children to watch TV for almost a whole day just to keep them busy.

Such an approach can result in serious neurological pathologies, since the nervous children's system is susceptible to the effects of adverse factors (loud light, bright pictures, etc.).

Other reasons of a psychological nature that can lead to the desire to bite the nails, are the following:

  • lack of sleep
  • boredom and lack of interesting entertainment,
  • replacement of habits
  • increased mental load
  • the desire to do everything better than anyone.

Physiological causes

Sometimes the tendency to onychophagy develops under the influence of physiological factors. If, in most cases, problems of an emotional nature can only be identified with the help of a child psychologist, then the physiological causes of the parents can be removed by themselves. These include:

  • insufficient care of the skin around the nails and cuticle,
  • physical satisfaction (activity of the pleasure centers of the brain),
  • lack of vitamins.

If the baby often gnaws his nails, you should pay attention to the children's diet. If a crumb consumes few fruits and vegetables, it may suffer from a deficiency of minerals and vitamins. To solve the problem will help a varied diet and intake of vitamin complexes (after consulting a doctor).

Pathological causes

Not always the causes of addiction are so harmless. In some cases, medical care and even treatment may be needed.

In 7-8% of cases, children gnaw the tips of the nails and the cuticle due to the following diseases:

  • worm infestation,
  • pathologies in the work of the heart (tachycardia, congenital malformations, arrhythmia, etc.),
  • neurosis and other disorders of a neurological nature.

In any case, a child suffering from oniophagia should be examined by a pediatrician or narrow-profile specialists (if indicated), since the consequences of a bad habit can be deplorable.

From the video you can find out what the doctor says about the habit, gives recommendations for weaning the child to bite his nails.

What is dangerous onychophagy?

If the tendency to nibbling and rubbing the nails is not eradicated in childhood, the habit will pass into adulthood, giving the person a lot of inconvenience. An adult, gnawing his nails, looks unattractive from the aesthetic side, has difficulties in communication and personal life.

In addition to the moral side, there are a number of other reasons why it is necessary to fight this phenomenon as soon as possible.

If the child constantly gnaws his nails, the probability of the following complications increases:

  • infectious diseases (especially intestinal and parasitic infections),
  • deformation of nails and cuticle,
  • increased tooth mobility,
  • dental infections (for example, stomatitis),
  • gum damage,
  • wounds and hematomas under the nail plate.

To avoid this, it is necessary to take measures to wean off a bad habit at an early age, until the child has developed a strong associative reflex associated with obtaining the pleasure of putting nails in the mouth.

Tips for weaning the child from the habit of biting nails on the hand

In order for weaning onychophagy events to be successful, it is important to find out the cause of this phenomenon. For a start, it is enough just to watch a child.

If the crumb begins to gnaw nails after a quarrel with peers or at the time of memorizing a poem for a matinee in kindergarten, the cause of onychophagy are neuroses and emotional distress.

In this situation, parents can not cope without the help of an experienced child psychologist. Sometimes you may need to consult a neurologist and a neurologist.

What else can be done to wean the baby nibble nails and cuticles?

  • If the child is already 3 years old, a confidential conversation can be an effective method.

Do it better in a relaxed atmosphere, muffling the sound of the TV and the bright light. It is important that the child was in a good mood and did not experience physical discomfort, that is, did not want to sleep or eat. In conversation, you must carefully find out what disturbs him or what he is afraid of. Finding out the hidden fears and excitements of the crumbs, you need to take measures to eliminate them. At this stage, you may need the help of a psychologist.

  • At any age it is necessary to limit the time of watching cartoons or TV shows.

The same applies to sitting at a computer. Television and computer radiation adversely affect the child's psyche, causing a feeling of loneliness and moral experiences.

  • Care, caress and attention - the best doctors for children of any age, especially for kids under the age of 4-5 years.

Parents need to devote more time to the child: walk with him, read fairy tales, play, take hands. Tactile and emotional contact positively affects the nervous system, causing joy and pleasure. This approach will gradually help eradicate the need for nibbling nails for physical pleasure.

  • A great way to take a child - drawing.

It can be used from 10 months of age. Finger paints are available for younger children. They develop motor skills, imagination, calm and positively affect the psychological state of the child.

  • One of the most effective psychological techniques is to try to “deceive” the brain.

The habit of biting nails is very strong, so getting rid of it is hard enough at any age. Mom should watch the baby. As soon as the baby starts to get nervous and pull his fingers into his mouth, it is necessary to intercept his hand as naturally as possible and put a pebble in it, offering to stroke or squeeze it. If you do it all the time, the child will soon forget about the habit.

  • Finger gymnastics is another popular way to fight oniophagy.

To achieve a positive result, you need to do it several times a day, paying attention to the moments when the child is nervous or worried.

  • If no methods help, you can use special ointments and varnishes sold in pharmacies.

They have a bitter taste, having tried which the child will stick his fingers in the mouth less and less.

  • Children over 4-5 years old (girls) can make a beautiful manicure.

At the same time, the mother needs to explain to her daughter the rules of caring for her hands and nails and will certainly show her admiration for the new way. Almost all girls like when their nails are varnished, so they feel sorry for spoiling the appearance, and they bite their nails less and less.

  • Some psychologists advise to develop a child's stop-reflex.

For this, a bracelet with an elastic band is put on the baby’s hand. At the moment when the child once again pulls a finger in his mouth, parents need to delay the gum and suddenly let go. After several attempts, onychophagy in the child will be associated with physical discomfort, and he will stop nibbling the nail plates.

What can not be done?

There are a number of actions that psychologists and pediatricians do not recommend to parents at the time of weaning from onychophagy, since they can lead to quite the opposite unexpected result.

Parents in no case be:

  • shout at the child
  • call him and humiliate him
  • take physical methods (slap on the pope)
  • to talk with the child in an orderly tone,
  • threaten to deprive something important to which the baby is used (for example, a favorite toy),
  • prohibit (bans almost all children provoke a backlash).

To disaccustom the child to gnaw nails, parents will have to be patient, as this process is difficult and lengthy. Sometimes it takes several months for the baby to give up the bad habit.

В этот момент маме важно всегда быть рядом с ребёнком, чтобы он чувствовал её любовь и ласку, — тогда отучение пройдёт быстро и безболезненно для самого ребёнка и окружающих его родных людей.

Заболевание или дурная привычка?

Психиатры не зря ввели в медицинскую практику особое определение – онихофагию. This term implies a mental disorder (!), Which is expressed in an uncontrollable desire to bite off the nail plate.

This disorder is formed gradually, moving from a seemingly innocuous habit.

Then the incidence only increases, since in adolescence almost half of children bite their fingers. Perhaps this is due to the increasing psychological burden.

That is, a bad habit cannot be left alone with a child, hoping that it will outgrow it. On the contrary, there is a risk that the problem simply develops into a mental disorder that cannot be overcome without the help of doctors.

Therefore, it is necessary to find the provoking factor and, if possible, get rid of it.

Why does a child gnaw nails?

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to understand exactly where such an unpleasant problem originated from. Experts talk about possible physiological and psychological factors that "include" oniophagyu.

1. Physiological factors:

  • Cuticle condition. In some small children, the skin around the nails is constantly “puffy up”. Without waiting for parental help, they are trying to remove the irritant on their own. This behavior is somewhat similar to an animal self-care reflex (for example, cats wash themselves with their tongues).
  • Physical satisfaction. The child is trying to achieve pleasure by all available and inaccessible methods. If you forbid him, for example, to eat sweets or a cake, he can switch to his fingers.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency. The nervous system is able to function normally only with good nutrition, rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins E, B and magnesium-containing products are especially important for a child, otherwise high anxiety, nervousness and fatigue develop.
  • Worm invasions. Domestic doctors believe that one of the possible causes of gnawing nails can be parasites that have settled in the children's body. Other signs indicate the presence of worms: increased salivation, itching in the rectal area, a dramatic change in behavior, a causeless cough.

2. Psychogenic factors:

  • Difficulties with adaptation. For many children, a bad habit occurs simultaneously with the beginning of socialization. So, by the age of three, the child begins to attend kindergarten, but if he is a “greenhouse” child, then even short-term separation becomes stress. At the age of seven, the next adaptation begins - he goes to school, which affects his emotional state.
  • Family climate. Constant scandals in the family, squabbles between parents, leaving one of them from home, shifting the process of bringing up to grandmothers - all this is also a stressful factor leading to biting off the nail plates.
  • Autoagression. With such behavior, aggressiveness due to various circumstances is directed at itself. The child, fearing anger at others, begins to harm its own health - for example, biting its nails.
  • Behavior model Children tend to "get infected" by the actions of other babies or adults. If someone in the kindergarten, classroom or at home nibbles nail plates and burrs, then the child is able to subconsciously repeat such movements.
  • Genetically caused anxiety. A child can bite his nails without an obvious stressogen, only because of an excessively excitable nervous system and temperament, which are caused by a hereditary factor. It is curious that positive and negative events have an equally strong stimulating effect.
  • The result of early weaning from the breast. Prolonged breastfeeding significantly soothes the impressionable child. With a sharp or early weaning from the "Titi" fingers become a kind of replacement of the mother's nipple or pacifier.
  • Perfectionism. The desire to be the best of all, which is broken about reality, makes the child perceive his every failure as the “end of the world”. Usually such situations occur in those parents who make excessive demands on their children. The child, unable to cope with stress, bites his nails.
  • Replacing bad habits. Many children distract themselves in any particular way - they pull curls, spin in place, suck their fingers, gnaw nail plates. In this way, the children calm down, and if you try to wean from one bad habit, another will begin.
  • Boredom. Some kids gnaw their fingers just like that, nothing better to do.
  • High loads. Congestion in school, simultaneous attendance of several studios, seminars or courses lead to fatigue, after which the child fights neurosis with nail gnawing.
  • Passion for TV or computer. Melteshenie shots, high volume, glare from the screen negatively affect the child's psyche. Trying to calm down, the child sucks fingers or bites nails.

Thus, the main provoking factor is increased anxiety and tendency to stress.

Consequences of habit

Doctors warn that the words “I can or cannot disaccustom” should in no way stand before parents.

Such a habit is not just an annoying nuisance, but a quite serious psychological disorder, which is fraught with certain consequences:

  • damaged nail plates and cuticles, which become an aesthetic problem,
  • slowing down normal nail growth,
  • infection of the skin near the nails,
  • problems with teeth, gums due to the constant presence of fingers in the mouth,
  • helminth infestation (larvae of worms often accumulate under the nails),
  • persistent infectious diseases due to low immunity,
  • the ridicule of peers
  • reduced self-esteem.

It is not easy to believe that a seemingly minor violation is fraught with the most serious negative effects in the distant future. Grown-up children may face social and psychological problems, which can also affect adulthood.

Folk recipes

Not always well-established traditional ways of getting rid of such a bad habit are considered humane. Many mummies refuse to apply such techniques, considering them to be too harsh (“I can’t mock the crumbs”). However, they should still be listed.

  1. Perhaps the most common and at the same time ambiguous method is to smear children's fingers with hot peppers, mustard and similar natural bitterness. It is believed that, having tried such an unpleasant spicy seasoning once or several times, the child will no longer chew on the nail plates.
  2. The older generation often recommends treating the nails with a brilliant green, since such an unpleasant appearance can repel the baby so much that he stops biting his nails. If, however, the fingers are in the mouth, their own green lips, seen after in the mirror, can turn the child away from the bad habit.

Such methods are ambiguous, however, judging by the reviews, it can still work, especially if the client is from two to four years old. For older kids, such methods do not exactly work.

Recommendations of psychologists

It is not always possible to discover the cause on your own, so parents can turn to a psychologist if, furthermore, numerous attempts at weaning did not lead to any positive results. Many psychotherapeutic tips are widely known, but they should be repeated.

  1. You can not blame and scream at the child, because so aggressively expressed interest in the children's problem, on the contrary, will aggravate the situation. Some kids even more nervous, others out of spite will gnaw marigolds. It is better to look for a more positive way to help your child.
  2. Be sure to talk with the child to establish the "trigger mechanism". Sometimes, methods that reveal subconscious and hidden problems help discover the cause. For example, you can offer your child to draw a school lesson, buddies, households. Black paint, a clear negative indicate a problematic area of ​​life.
  3. Try to spend more time with a small "rodent". Body contact (stroking on the head, hugging, finger massage), pleasant words, discussion of pressing problems are required. That is, the hours and minutes spent with the child must be filled with positive emotions.
  4. You need to take care of yourself to demonstrate a positive pattern of behavior. It is foolish to expect the refusal of the child to bite off the nail plates or burrs, if someone from close relatives (especially significant for the baby) bites his nails and constantly pushes his fingers in his mouth. Teach a girl to care for nails!
  5. If a child in such an undesirable way puts out aggression, show him the socially approved forms of its manifestation. For example, visiting sports clubs, a variety of competitions, contact games contributes to the splashing out of negative emotions that are no longer directed at their personality.
  6. Take the child by hand, for example, drawing, sculpting, working with scissors, burning will not only take pens, but also bring a lot of positive moments to your child. Older girls will be able to cross-stitch. In addition, textured objects such as stones, construction parts, bumpy balls and other small things help to remove the surge.
  7. You need to talk about the negative consequences - unpleasant stories often have a proper effect on older children. Teenagers can independently find on the Internet various “horror stories” in the form of photographs of parasites inflaming the gastrointestinal tract. A small child can be offered to examine through a microscope dirt from under the nails, which may contain various unpleasant creatures.
  8. A creative child needs an extraordinary approach. In particular, you can compose a fabulous story that tells about two heroes - one gnaws at the nails, and the second - does not have a similar habit. That is why very few people communicate with the first one and play because of unpleasant-looking hands, while the other has many friends. Fantastic therapy positively and indirectly affects children's consciousness.
  9. It is necessary to revise the daily routine. So, for two years old kids and older children it is important to ensure a comfortable psychological atmosphere, frequent walks on the street. Schoolchildren need to leave more free time, not to press with grades, success and academic workload.
  10. If the factor provoking the onychophagy to occur is an unexpected separation from his beloved mom after being constantly with her, then such a separation can become a serious stress. It is important to gradually accustom the child to independence and independence, for example, you should briefly take him to the grandmother, in the kindergarten, so that he gets used to being without a mother.

Medical assistance

In difficult situations, the neurologist and the gastroenterologist become the two most specialized and most important specialists, with whom it is definitely worth talking.

The first will help pick up a sedative medication. The second will check the condition of the intestines and write out, if necessary, medications - herbal remedies, sedatives or vitamin-mineral complexes.

It is extremely important not to give the child any seemingly harmless drug at will.

A number of bitter varnishes, acting like traditional mustard, are represented in the pharmacy chains: “Non-clipping”, “Belweder”.

They are transparent, so they are suitable not only for girls, but also for boys. Sold in children's departments and special bitter ointment.

The danger of such means is the possibility of chemical components in the eye. In addition, parents still affect the external manifestation of the bad habit, not working with the true cause of oniophagy.

Gnawing nail plates and burrs is a common problem in childhood and adolescence. Some parents are not very serious about the situation, considering that the baby will soon outgrow it.

Experts also advise to seek help, especially if adults do not know how to wean the child's nail biting. Well, it is also important to surround the children with love and attention.

Why does a child bite his nails?

In fact, if we consider psychosomatics, then this suggests that the child is anxious. Somewhere in his life he is uncomfortable.

This may not apply to money. The family may have good wealth, but the child bites his nails. It is more related to the internal state - somewhere, something, somehow uncomfortable to him. And at this moment in time, he unknowingly takes his fingers into his mouth and starts nibbling them.

What should parents not do?

  • You can not blame. You can not blame because you add discomfort, and instead of he stopped biting his nails, he would bite them even more, being in a state of stress, nervous tension. Therefore, just can not blame.
  • You can not get angry. You can not always bale or angry at the child, or upset because he bites his nails, because seeing your frustration, he too will be nervous. He loves you, does not want to upset you, and at some point in time will begin to bite his nails even more.

1. Buy special covers

There are many means in fact from the fact that children do not bite their nails, from the fact that there are such special covers on the fingers that dress and the child simply does not have access, he cannot nibble them. For some children, it worked, and for some it didn't. Try it! They are sold in pharmacies and children's stores.

2. Treat with tasteless ointment

The second point - there are many ointments that cover the tips of the fingers. They are tasteless, and for some of the children it worked, they stopped nibbling, tried it — tasteless, not nibbling. And someone, like hedgehogs in a joke, "cried and continued to eat cacti." They continue to bite their nails, it is terribly tasteless, bitter, but they bite them.

Therefore, if your child is one for whom neither mustard nor special ointments have worked, then the next option will suit you for sure.

3. Soothe the nervous system

It is necessary to calm the nervous system. The way I’ll talk about now, it is suitable for children who bite their nails, for those who pick their nose, suck their fingers, constantly paws at their earlobe - these are some of the same type of movements. Or else it happens - in the navel, the child, if nervous, can tear the navel straight.

Announce to your child that now you are changing everything, a joyful day has come, and now you can bite your nails, pick your nose, put your finger in the navel - at a certain time every day.

Make it joyous, make it a holiday, remove this tension - because the child has lived with you every time he hears: “Stop doing it! Get your fingers out of your nose! Stop biting your nails! ”- he didn’t stop doing it, but he still shudders every time you tell him that.

Therefore, declare that you can, solemnly announce how a holiday - you can! - for example, from 17-00 to 17-15 every day! Solemnly promise your child that whatever he does, at this time you will call him, and this will be the time when you can completely nibble your nails.

What not to do?

It will not be necessary at other times to remind him that he gnaws. Even if he nibbles them, keep silent. At 17-15 he will do it consciously, and before that it is just out of habit. In order not to intensify the gnawing, keep yourself in hand and keep silent until a certain time.

  • Call the child, whatever he does, at the appointed time.
  • Bring him to the mirror, say: "Time has gone!"
  • Start the timer and let it nibble!

If he gnawed his nails with joy for as much as 12 minutes, and you have 15 according to plan, you say: “Dear (or dear), you still have 3 whole minutes, continue!”

And he continues to bite his nails - the day, the second, the third, is still happy. But on the fourth day, when he watches his favorite cartoon, and you call him to bite his nails, he no longer wants. You say: “Sorry, such rules! Come on, stop the cartoon! ”Be kind, benevolent:“ You have time, go! ”

What's happening?

In a very short period of time, when this behavior is brought to a conscious level, and he can do it, moreover, you encourage him to do it, the nervous system reboots. She goes from the level of stress to the level of "well, you can, normally, relax, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy ..."

Enjoy it? No, I don't want to do it anymore!

And gradually, gradually, gradually, the child wants to bite his nails more and more painfully at the right time. He no longer wants to do this! And the habit gradually goes away.

But it leaves easily, it goes away without anguish, without shouting, without scandals, without the child’s nervous system and yours, when you see that it bites its nails, or does a number of other movements that I have already mentioned.

Try this method, it works great! The only thing that you agree, please, with all members of your family, so that they stop making remarks to the child, if they see him when he bites his nails.

Remember that the habit may come back to a particularly stressful moment, and he unknowingly shoves his fingers in his mouth and starts to gnaw, but if stress passes, then it will go away.

Try it! And you will definitely succeed. You will see how easy it is to get rid of it.

Ну, и конечно, будет очень полезно, если вы подумаете, чего не хватает вашему ребенку, в какой момент времени он начинает нервничать, и как этого избежать для того, чтобы впредь он жил в мире, где спокойно, где есть гармония, где его принимают таким, какой он есть, и все!

И еще один очень важный момент

You know, when we say to a child “Do not gnaw nails!”, He, of course, understands that we are saying this, but the brain does not understand, and then what? If not gnaw, then what? Therefore, it is sometimes easier to say to the child: “Put your hands in your pocket!” Or “Bring me this” or “Take something in your hands!” - and you give him, no matter what you have in your hands, you simply redirect his brain to the other side.

And no matter what he does - picking his ear, nose, navel, biting his nails - when you say, "Put your hands in your pocket!", He automatically stops doing this and puts his hands in his pocket.

This is a global problem, of course, does not solve, but the parochial, from time to time, will work very well because you gave the correct command to the brain, and he understands how to act.

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Why do children have this habit

Before weaning a child from the habit, you need to know what causes it. There is an opinion that nails gnaw due to psychological problems. We can agree with this, but besides this, there are several other reasons:

  • The child has nothing to do.
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem.
  • During the process there is an exit of aggression.
  • Late hand care. The nails are clipped, and the burrs remain, so the child himself has to finish the work begun by the parents.
  • Children's stress, experiences.
  • Genetic predisposition.

Noticing that the baby is biting his nails, try not to make him any comments. This does not mean that you should not pay attention to this behavior of your child at all, you just need to determine the reason that causes this habit. Only after that should we proceed to action, decide how to wean the children from biting their nails. Of course, you can leave everything as it is, but in the future this habit can make life difficult for your baby.

Why you can not ignore the habit of biting nails

Some parents think that there is nothing to worry about when the kid bites his nails. This opinion is wrong. Why can not bite your nails, now consider from a medical point of view.

  • You can damage the cuticle, and this will lead to infection and to such a disease as paronychia. In addition, this damage causes severe pain, suppuration and swelling of the finger.
  • Habit can lead to disruption of the gastrointestinal tract. How many times a day do you touch different objects in public places? A large number of germs remains on your hands and under your nails. By nibbling your nails, you give these microbes an opportunity to get into your body, which often leads to infection with E. coli or helminths.

There are also aesthetic reasons why you can not bite your nails:

  • In society, this habit will not add advantages.
  • Bitten nails look very ugly.

That is why you can not bite your nails: the consequences, as you can see, can be unpredictable. Sometimes a bad habit can lead to years of treatment.

Some statistics

Many children get used to the habit of nail biting. How to get rid of it, parents should think, the main thing is not to miss the moment. Indeed, between the ages of three and six years, a very small number of babies love to indulge in their nails, by the age of ten they are getting bigger, and in adolescence the number of people who like to bite their nails, according to some sources, already reaches forty-five percent! Remember, parents, kids easier to wean from nibbling nails. The older the child becomes, the habit becomes stronger and more stress appears. And if you do not want to see your adult child gnawing at your fingernails in the future, then begin to struggle with this ailment from the first days, as soon as you see that the baby has pulled a finger in his mouth. After all, this habit is called "onychophagy" and is considered a disease. If the baby continues to bite his nails, the consequences for the child can be deplorable, and this fact should worry the parents. You must use any of the following methods to help your baby.

Observation is one way

Observation is one of the moments that will help you find the answer to the question of how to wean children from biting their nails. Allocate some free time in your daily chart, watch your child. Determine in which situation he begins to pull his fingers in his mouth. Most likely, this will be the moment when the baby is guilty and worries about this. For him, this is a stressful situation. Calm him, take pity, say that nothing terrible has happened, that it happens to everyone, the main thing is to try to get him out of stress.

If you notice that a crumb begins to bite his nails without a stressful situation, distract him, give him a toy and play with him. Remember that at this moment the baby can not be scolded, and you should not constantly tell him that he is doing something wrong, pull him down. The child will soon realize that in this way he can attract the attention of his parents, and he will begin to bite his nails on purpose, so that mom and dad can distract from their activities, play with him, tell him a fairy tale, or just caress him.

Aggression turns into a sport

If the cause of onychophagy is aggression, then it is best for your child to be carried away by sports. Let him exercise, and along with physical exertion, let excess energy spill out and the desire to bite his nails disappears. The best sport for this purpose is karate or wrestling. If the habit of gnawing nails has arisen for psychological reasons, then try to do everything so that the child can change his attitude to the situation that causes aggression. Understand what provokes her, distract the baby, turn all his attention to something else. Offer him a toy or read him a book. You are parents, you should know what will interest your child. If, on the contrary, the baby starts to bite his nails at the moment when he is agitated, then cheer him up, with the help of various games, enter him into the new team. If you do not succeed, resort to the help of a psychologist, a kindergarten teacher or a school teacher.

Moment of coercion but not pressure

From the very first minute, as soon as you noticed that your child is biting nails, you should think about how to unlearn nail bite to your baby. Weaning a small child from this bad habit is much easier than when he gets older. One of the ways is coercion. Parents understand that time should not be missed, and strive to quickly wean the child from the bad habit. Only this can end badly. Remember: using this method, try not to overdo it. Act calmly and confidently. Try not to punish the baby, just tell him why it’s bad to do so. Otherwise, he will not give up this habit, just in front of you he will hide it, but not in front of strangers. Even worse, if he quit nail biting, he will shift his attention to something else, more harmful and ugly. So before choosing this method. think a few times and decide if you can act confidently and slowly.

The game helps the cause

The perfect way to not bite your nails is to care for them. Parents should constantly monitor their condition. As soon as the nails begin to grow, hurry to cut them, then the baby will not be tempted to gnaw them. Punishment is unlikely to help get rid of this habit. You better the child clearly, in the form of a game, show everything and tell. Explain to the baby, why you can not bite your nails, show in the picture how they can become ugly and deformed in the future. Maybe this argument will make a greater impression on the girls, but the boys should focus on it. Do not forget to tell your baby that under the nails live bacteria that penetrate into his tummy and will grow there, causing him pain. It is unlikely that the child wants someone inside him to live. You can still come up with a fairy tale, where a positive hero did not bite his nails, and a negative one had a favorite habit. And all the children wanted to be friends only with a neat child.

The child bites his nails - what causes the problem

When asked why the child bites his nails, what is the reason, there is no definite answer. Stress, fears (fear of punishment, answer at the blackboard, mistakes in lessons, etc.), low self-esteem, manifestations of internal aggression, internal stress, self-dissatisfaction, boredom, loneliness and even a weaning can lead to biting nails. Also, experts do not exclude physiological features (brittle nails, the formation of burrs, etc.).

According to the common hypothesis, children "gnaw" negative emotions. According to psychoanalysts, a child chewing nails is going through one of the stages of personality formation and closes itself on a certain set of emotions. The same combination of experiences can further push for smoking. In some cases, the causes of this habit are immediately visible. In others, even child psychologists shrug.

Opinion of doctors

In medicine, biting, eating nails is defined as a disease called onychophagy. If you cut the nails, the child will bite the skin of the fingers. This phenomenon is called dermatophagy. The question of the appearance of frustration doctors can not answer unequivocally. According to experts, the effect is: physical satisfaction from the process, improper or irregular care for the cuticle, neurosis, as well as worms, diseases of nerves, blood vessels and the heart, lack of protein, phosphorus or magnesium.

Similar phenomena are observed in animals: pigs gnaw hooves when there is a shortage of minerals, dogs and rabbits literally chew their paws when there is a shortage of sunlight. Similar mechanisms of development of the disorder in children have not been studied, but they cannot be completely discarded.

And what if you just do not pay attention?

After all, the child does not bother the process, rather the opposite. And the parents will be calmer, they will stop being nervous themselves, and shout at trifles over the child.

The famous pediatrician, doctor of the highest category, Komarovsky, warns: this tendency cannot be ignored in a child. She reports on deep problems in adult life manifested in isolation, inability to get a job, early arthritis on her hands. Children may suffer teeth and mouth.

Let's watch a video about bad habits from Dr. Komarovsky.

Making the house a pleasant and safe place for a child

First create a peaceful home environment. Before making another scandal to a husband or wife, it is better to count to twenty. If a child is sick, slowly count to two hundred, leave the charges and silently eliminate the consequences. And then the whole family do something fun. This is a crucial step to create a sense of security in the child.

Reconsider how you support the child. Maybe right now he lacks your participation in affairs, help. Remember: for a child, especially an enthusiastic person, it is vital to achieve the fulfillment of the task. So help specific advice, try to do together.

Teach your child to relieve stress in an affordable and safe way. Perhaps in the family it is not accepted, then you need to find a suitable way. You can use the Japanese method and beat a punching bag with a photo of the offender on it, use the wushu breathing exercises. Babies can be given a toy in their hands, ask to squeeze it on the exhale and let go on inhaling. And the student offer to sort through the rosaries, turn the “enchanted” coin.

We take the child to the doctor

Take the child to a cosmetologist. Specialist recommendations will help restore the skin of the fingers, cuticle and nails.

At the same time, visit a therapist with your child, take a referral for tests for eggs of worms. The study will need the whole family. Together with your child, hand over an analysis of the sensitivity of germs and skin fungi to medicines. Excessive microbial activity may be one of the causes of nail nibbling.

We connect creativity

It is also good to apply art therapy techniques. Ask the child to draw a school, a lesson, a change in colors. The abundance of disproportionate figures, dark tones, sharp corners, distorted perspectives can be signs of a problem.

Do not try to solve it with the help of a school child psychologist: a specialist has little time and very different tasks. But with a child psychologist from an organization that works with the younger generation, it is necessary to consult. For the first time come yourself, tell us about the problem, show the picture. The technician will set the date and time of the session.

Write a fairy tale to your child. I’m not tired of repeating that a fairy tale acts best on young children. You can choose ready-made versions of psycho-correctional fairy tales to wean the child from the nail biting habit, or write a story with a simple plot: like a squirrel or bunny, you learned some new useful action (for example, to draw) instead of the old one. In the practice of my colleague, there was a case of successful and quick recovery from an addiction through such a fairy tale.

More positive and warm communication!

More often communicate with the child. Cuddle, return to a friendly contact more often. This “medicine” applies to all diseases.
Physical education also contributes to the processing of negative emotions. Methods depend on the workload of the child: the sports section, morning exercises or jogging, a set of breathing exercises.

Determine exactly when the child began to bite his nails: it takes between several days and a couple of months between undesirable behavior and his awareness of his parents. Write down the date of the first biting nails. Recall the events of the previous week, record and place in chronological order. Think, what could cause undesirable behavior?

Saturate your son or daughter with positive information about the world: take a weekend tour, go to museums. Teens can (and should) attend a concert of classical rock and techno, symphonic music. Engage with scion modeling, drawing, needlework. Be sure to review the mode of the day: children need more sleep and at least 2 hours of play.

Rules to follow for the whole family

The painful situation imposes a number of serious restrictions on the family. Some simply stand, to comply with others have to make a lot of effort. Parents and other adults living with children are prohibited from:

  • scold and punish a child for biting nails. It is like punishing a migraine attack or reporting gastritis,
  • nibble your nails yourself. Especially in the presence of children. The child is absolutely incomprehensible why he cannot what adults can do,
  • make scandals and create a tense atmosphere.

When you follow these recommendations and prescriptions of doctors, the child will stop biting his nails after about a month and a half.

Shave under the root

Accumulated traditions reduce nail nibbling to aesthetic points only. When asked what to do if the child bites his nails, it is advised to cut the nails under the root. To grab was nothing. With physiological difficulties with nail plates, the method is really effective. However, often the child then begins to gnaw the skin of his fingers, pencils and pens.

Make a beautiful manicure

Another option is to make a beautiful manicure on Friday evening. The approach is used for girls. According to beliefs, it is the time at the end of the working week, from sunset to sleep, the best for strengthening the nails. And the little lady will simply be sorry to spoil the beauty of unexpectedly transformed hands. In fairness it should be noted that sometimes this approach justifies itself.

Smear your fingers with something sharp

A radical measure - to spread fingers with mustard, red pepper, chili sauce. Unknown authors believe that once or twice the baby will face bitterness and forget about the unpleasant habit.

However, bitterness strongly irritates children's skin, is absorbed through the epidermis and can cause severe disorders of the internal organs, and even leaves severe burns in the mouth. Not to mention how you relate to your own children.

Application of dyes

Some folk healers also advise to dab your nails with brilliant green, medical blue, phenolphthalein, or another “harmless” dye. According to the adherents of the method, if the appearance of the fingers does not frighten the child away, then the color patches of different freshness on the face are sure to wean the nail biting.

Little children stains from dyes do not interfere at all. They may notice that they only become dirty after the comments of mom or dad. And the habit of nail biting turns out to be stronger than the desire to please parents and stay clean.

We must not forget about the medicinal action of dyes. Zelenka not only burns the skin, but also damages the mucous membrane of the mouth. And in combination with gastric juice forms carcinogens. Phenolphthalein is known in medicine under another name - Purgen. Prolonged (more than five days) its entry into the stomach leads to chronic diarrhea. Attacks of the disease are provoked by solid food. Often, children prefer to remain silent about the effects of forced weaning.

Медицинская (метиленовая) синька при попадании в рот быстро всасывается, приводит к ухудшению зрения и снижению умственной активности.

Увы, народного средства от привычки грызть ногти без вредного действия и с абсолютной эффективностью нет. Так что если вы хотите, чтобы от отучения от этой привычки было больше пользы, чем вреда, лучше все же прибегнуть к иным способам.

Good luck to you in this difficult but important matter!

Anna Kutyavina,
psychologist, storyteller,
Mistress of the site Fairy World
the author of the book of fairy tales for adults Piggy of desires

I thank Anya for telling us how to wean the children from biting her nails. I think many have come across this. And, of course, it is better to know how to behave properly in the presence of such problems. After all, the point here is really not in the whims of the child, not in his desire to do something in spite, but in the fact that he faced some difficulties and most likely needs help. And it is very important to provide this assistance in a timely manner.

And for the mood I propose to watch a cartoon with your children.