how do I get my kid to stop bitting her nails?

Kristine - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My daughter bites her nails down to nothing, but doesn't stop there. She also bites the skin on top of her nails until it bleeds. Bandaids and tape don't stay on. Finger tip covers are easy to take off and expensive when you have to buy at one to two boxes a week. I've offered incentives such as if you grow them out, I will give you mani...but she can't do it. It doesn't seem like she does it when bored...just habbit. Pleas help!

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Julie - posted on 07/02/2012

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I am told the bitter nail polish works well. But along with that you need to teach her that nail biting is symptomatic of underlying anxiety/stress, boredom or both. Typically all kids display it in one way or another. Licking lips, cracking knuckles, chewing on sleeves.
So, don't get upset, but instead when you recognize the behavior, assess the situation. Then try directing her in a way that will either take her out of the boredom in your case (you say she usually isn't), or simply bring it to her attention so she can recognize it on her own. Children do not know what it means, how it feels, or how to communicate they are anxious or under stress until we teach them awareness of ones self.
Offer new alternative way to channel the behavior, like deep breathing tech, a squeeze hand toy, calming rocks, or taking a walk, jumping roping, or even taking a bath. Teaching her healthy alternative ways, other than nail biting. Eventually, she will grow out of it, and form new annoying habits :)"

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Madison - posted on 07/23/2012

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Yeah I used "Bite No More" for my daughter and it worked like a charm! Hope you figure it out!

Joni - posted on 07/11/2012

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Google what is under your nails and show her how dirty they are and that it can give her paracites and worms... not to mention she can catch evey cold & flu that a kid has in school... or at the mall... have her look at other hands with bitten nails and ask her if she finds them beautiful... it is a suoer hard habit to break... It took acrylic nails at age 22 for me to stop. Girls simply do not bite their nails... it's grose! Why is she so nervous?

Christine - posted on 07/09/2012

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My Almost 4 y/o started doing the same thing the last couple weeks as well. She ended up biting one of them down to the soft tender tissue under the nail and found that it hurts when she goes in the pool swimming. We used it as an example of what happens when she bites them. So by accident we were able to teach her and she hasn't bitten them since. I know this doesn't help as much, but it's what happened with us.

Kristine - posted on 07/09/2012

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Thanks to all for the recent posts. She is still doing it, but no longer actually chewing on the skin...thank goodness for small victories! She still bits off any kind of paint and is aware of the germs and dirt, but it is such a habit for her. I am hoping her peers will be of influance and it will get better at some point. I even tried glueing fake nails on so she could have long pretty nails and would be unable to chew on her own, but she does it to them too, and they come off too easy. *sigh* it could be worse :)

Elizabeth - posted on 07/09/2012

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I bit my nails every day down to nothing for years. Nothing my parents did could stop it. It is a nervous habit. Biting nails can be a comfort..weird but true, I know. I am not sure what to tell you except keep at it, encourage her not to bite, give her something else to chew on...ie, gum, or some other thing..sugarless of course. Give her a stress ball. The minute her nails reach a reasonable length, take her to the manicurist. remind her that her hands touch everything and all the germs she picks up on her hands go right into her mouth... And do what Denise suggested, paint her nails..often, even if you are painting like an 8th of an inch of nail.

Eventually she will quit...especially when her peers are getting their nails done and she gets pressure from that sector.

Renee - posted on 07/03/2012

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We have tried many different techniques and I got mine to stop biting hers for a while, but her habit is an anxiety based one. She also has Tourettes Syndrome, so if she is biting her nails, she is not ticcing as badly, so it is a trade off. I got her to stop by using the "Bite No More", but she didn't mind the taste, so I added a little cayenne pepper (a very little) and the heat plus the taste was enough to get her to stop. When her nails were long, I would keep them painted and really complimented her as to how they look, but I find that since she has been diagnosed with the TS, I really don't care if she bites her nails as long as she remains healthy.

Madison - posted on 07/02/2012

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I also used the "Bite No More" nail polish product that stopped my daughter from biting her nails. The polish tastes bad so she did not want to bite anymore.

Mikesha - posted on 06/29/2012

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My daughter was biting her nails when she was younger. I stared panting them and she didn't like the taste. She also loved the way they looked so she stopped.

Rachell - posted on 04/29/2011

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The bite no more may not work as they get used to it - I did. I go through stages in my life of doing it. It is a compulsive behavior. I would try putting a revita nail on them after smoothing them over to take any sharp bits off as that will reduce her noticing her nails and also keep her hands occupied. If winter, put gloves on where appropriate and keep those hands busy busy busy!!

Kristine - posted on 03/18/2011

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I will look for the product, she chews the nail polish off within 2 days. Thanks for your reply!

Denise - posted on 03/18/2011

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There is a "Bite No More" on the market that you can look into. My daughter was also a nail biter, but it was short lived. I would just keep painting her nails and tell her how nice they were if she would let them grow and painted. I don't think the nail polish itself tastes very good, so even though she kept biting them, I would paint them and eventually she stopped.

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