Does the child eat his fingernails? What to do to overcome it
If your child eats his nails, he is not alone.
About 50% of children between the ages of 10 and 18 bite their fingernails at least occasionally, and for many children, the habit begins at an even younger age.
According to experts, it is one of the most common "nervous habits", which also includes twisting hair, picking the nose and sucking the thumb.
Typically, it is characterized as repetitive body-focused behavior. While some children eat their fingernails because they are upset, others do not know what else to do when they feel stressed. Nail biting can be self-healing.
In addition to the unpleasant, biting the nails could do some damage to your child's teeth and nails. So, if your child is particularly aggressive when it comes to eating his fingernails, you may need to talk to your dentist.
If biting his nails seems to be a bad habit, there are some ways to work with your child to discourage his behavior.
Trim your nails daily.
Cutting your child's nails reduces the area under the nails - and means less dirt, grime and bacteria can accumulate under the nail and get into their mouth. Take care of the cuticles as well which children also like to bite.
Keep his hands busy
Quite often children eat their fingernails without realizing it, so it is good to give them something else to do with their hands. Let them hold beads, rubber bands or have a coin in their pocket to play with.
They can have a tiny soft anxiolytic ball, which also works to keep their fingers busy while watching TV. If they chew their fingernails while reading a story to them, have them turn the pages to get their hands on a job.
Talk to your child to find out which of the things that happen at home or at school cause stress at first. Be affectionate with him and give him time to trust you. You can help a child stop eating his nails if you give him something else to keep his hands busy.
There are special manos in pharmacies that you can apply on the child's nails. Their bitter taste is the best reminder for your child to stop eating them.
And do not forget!
When nail biting is constant and intense and we believe that the child may embody his anxiety, insecurities and fears, we do not hesitate to consult a child psychologist.