Nails chewing: where it comes from and what you can do about it

Why do kindergarten kids chew on their nails?

When children chew nails, it can be for a variety of reasons: boredom, curiosity, stress or habit. Nail biting is the most common of the so-called ""nervous habits"" (others are thumb sucking, nasal cannulation, turning hair around fingers and teeth grinding). It is also the habit that most often persists into adulthood.

Children can reduce tensions by nail-biting. All children are anxious or worried now and then. The causes are manifold: Maybe they are new to kindergarten, feel intimidated at a children's birthday party or can not assess the situation on the playground.

If your child chews nails in these situations, it's his way of dealing with stress and comfort. You do not need to worry about the case. It is very likely that nail biting will eventually stop by itself.

However, if it does last longer than it looks good to you, or if you can not stand your child's nail biting, there are simple ways to stop it.

What can I do against nail biting?

Talk about what troubles your little one!

It is important to consider what exactly the cause of nail biting can be, and if there are things that are troubling your child and causing stress.

If you have any idea what's really frightening your child - a move, a divorce within the family or a new kindergarten group - then take time to talk to your child about these things.

Nag and do not punish!

You probably can not do much about nail biting - unless your kindergartner really wants to get rid of it yourself. It is typical of nervous habits that they run unconsciously. Maybe her little one does not even know that it is chewing on the nails - it would be pointless to criticize it constantly or even punish it in this case.

Even adults have a hard time getting rid of nail biting - and when we parents really think about it, most of us think of it as a habit. (Do you twirl your hair when you're on the phone? What do you do if you're worried?)

As long as your child does not get hurt while nail biting and as long as it does not seem overly stressful, it's best to take care of your little one's nails so carefully that it is not tempted to bite off disturbing corners.Make sure that your child has clean hands so that no germs get in his mouth and draw attention to beautiful things.

If you put pressure on your little one, the stress only gets bigger - nail biting could get worse instead of better.

Any interference in the form of bitter-tasting fingernail tinctures will feel like punishment to your child if it does not voluntarily stop and agrees to this assistance. The less fuss is made about nail biting, the more likely it is that your child stops by itself when it is done by itself.

Help your child if she wants to stop herself!

If your kindergartner is teased about the nails being bitten off, it probably wants to stop by itself - and then your little one needs your help! First, talk about teasing and how your child feels about it. Tell your child that you love it - no matter what his nails look like. And then you search together for solutions.

Talk about how to change habits!

Think with your child about what nervous habits are and how to stop them.

Encourage your child to pay attention to when and where it chews nails. Match a secret sign that reminds your child: ""You're biting your nails. ""A light touch on the arm or a codeword is suitable for this. Suggest an alternative to chewing (for example, a game of skill for long car rides or a smooth stone, a caress that your child can hold while you read it).

Some children can handle it well if they are physically reminded that they are chewing nails again. Only if your little one wants this, this option makes sense. If not, it will only seem like a punishment.

If your child wants it too, then you could, for example, try a bitter-tasting anti-Nägelkau tincture (available at the pharmacy) or stick colorful patches on the nails. In any case, ask at your pharmacy if the product you choose is also suitable for children of this age.

Children are different and prefer different ways to exercise a habit. But for everyone, the more they feel like a partner on the side of their parents in the fight against the habit, the sooner they succeed. And as a parent you also avoid an annoying and unnecessary power struggle.

When should you really be worried?

In very rare cases, disproportionately frequent nail biting is a sign that your child is very scared. If your baby bites his fingertips sore or bloody, you should definitely ask the pediatrician for advice. You should also seek help if biting your nails is accompanied by other disturbing behaviors such as bloody scratching, eyelash pulling or extreme sleep habits.

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