Nail Biting In Children: Cause, Prevention

Nail Biting In Children
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                  Nail Biting In Children

Nail Biting in children may be a habit that will also drive you to bite your nails–literally!

You are not the only parents who are afraid if your kid is used to biting his nails. Nail-biting disease in kids is called onychophagia medically. It’s one of the prevalent behaviors that most kids worldwide experience.

Medical estimates show the habit of biting their nails about 50 percent of kids between the ages of 10 and 18. Although this practice can be rather irritating. It is essential to know why your kid is doing so as a parent.

Causes Of Nail Biting In Children?

For multiple reasons such as stress, anxiety, convenience or boredom, children tend to bite their nails. Here are the most prevalent reasons why your kid might have to bite his nails:

1. To Feel Comforted:

Your baby’s reflex can make him put his thumb in his mouth to get a feeling of comfort. Sometimes this habit continues in children even after they grow up. That’s why, as he finds comfort through this habit, your kid or preschooler might bite his nails.

2. Boredom:

When he’s bored, you’ll discover your child indulging in this habit. It may also be common when he doesn’t do any job with his hands, like those moments when he watches television, attending classes, etc.

3.Stress And Anxiety:

Your kid will bite his nails if, for instance, at home or at school, there are any unpleasant circumstances in his environment. These may cause your child’s stress or anxiety. There may be a number of problems like:

  • Separation of parents
  • quarrels between parents or family members
  • Loss of a  near relative
  • Relocation to a new home
  • Joining a recent high school
  • The pressure to perform well in class


In your kids, too, your habits would be inhibited by your genes. During your teenage years, if you used to bite nails, chances are that your kid will also develop the same habit.

5. Imitating the Habits of Others:

When children see their sibling or other family members doing the same, they tend to imitate the habit of biting nails. When your kid copies a family member’s same habit, it provides a sense of “feel good” and a sense of being grown up.

How To Stop Nail Biting In Children?

Although it may be highly frustrating, you must refrain from scolding your kid for nail-biting or punishing it. Here are some helpful ways your child can bid farewell to the nail-biting habit in children:

1. Talk to the child:

Talk to your kid to find out why he’s got this habit. If he does it for any specific purpose, such as boredom or stress, discuss it with him and remove the cause.

2. Germs And Diseases:

Let your kid understand that there may be germs hiding under the nails and that he must immediately stop the habit. Help your kid know that when he bites the nails, the disease that causes germs can readily enter his body and cause him to fall ill.

3. Offer Reward:

Give your child an arrangement that you’re going to check his nails every day and reward him if he refrains from biting the nail. Offer him a reward during lunch like a unique meal or a favorite homemade dessert.

4. Get A Mini Manicure:

Get a mini manicure for your child and after the session look at her nails and praise how clean they look. Tell her that when she bit it, it looked very shabby before. This will prevent her from again biting her nails.

5. Bitter Taste Treatment:

Many liquids can be found in medical shops to prevent the habit of biting kids ‘ nails. Take one of these products and put it on the nails of your kid. The bitter taste is your child’s best reminder to stop biting.

Understanding why your child’s nail bites will help remove the causes and habit. Sometimes it’s just a straightforward tactic that captures attention.

So make sure your kid receives enough love and attention, and it’s going to be a previous practice with time quickly.

Also Read: Do You Also Bite Your Nails?