Recently our young man’s nail-biting seems to have increased. It used to happen on the odd occasion but now seems to be taking place more often. While we driving, watching TV, at school. It’s not just his fingers, but also apparently his toes too!
I wasn’t too concerned initially, but this weekend he bit his one finger raw to the point it began to bleed. Adding to this hubby had a chat with his class teacher who mentioned that his nail-biting is increasing.
Hubby was concerned.
I asked Dr. Google what to do.
Seems nail-biting is actually quite normal among toddlers. It falls into the same category as thumb-sucking, nose picking and hair twisting or tugging. These are all signs of some form of anxiety caused by boredom, stress or habit. It can begin as a toddler and go on into adulthood or in most cases it will eventually stop because they’ve lost interest or they make a conscious decision too for various reasons.
As a parent there isn’t much you can do to stop your toddler from biting their nails, as they don’t do it consciously, at times only realising what they doing when you mention it. Stern chats with them may only aggravate the situation. Remember that toddlers can’t always express their feelings verbally, so it’s important to understand what is causing these stresses on your child.
Some ways of assisting your toddler to stop biting their nails
- Remind them gently that their biting their nails
- Give them their favourite toy, a cup with juice or something to take away their attention from the nail
- Cover the tips of their fingers with funky plasters to make it more difficult to bite the nails
The aesthetic look of the finger is why we fuss so much over the nail-biting. There are however instances when nail-biting can become excessive like when bleeding starts that can lead to the skin becoming infected.
If you notice that your toddler nail-biting reaches a level where their fingers bleed around the nail, or begin to also pull their hair and eyelashes, scratching their skin or picking scabs then there could be some serious anxiety challenges that should be addressed with your child’s doctor.
I guess we will be keeping a close eye on our son’s fingers for a while, but also try to understand what the triggers are that cause him to bite his nails, without embarressing him or aggrevating his toddler stress levels.