Nail-biting in Children


Watching your children bite their nails isn’t just annoying, it can be concerning as well. Most people see it as a result of anxiety. It can also be extremely unhygienic. But it’s best to approach this lovingly and gently.

Why do they do it?

There can be a number of reasons why children bite their nails. Boredom, stress relief, anxiety, just to busy their hands. It’s a lot like other normal habits such as picking at skin, grinding teeth, sucking thumb, etc. It’s nothing to worry too much about!

Growing up is a tough thing to do. Some anxiety release methods inevitably become part of children’s habits.

  • How can I make them stop?

Since this habit isn’t very alarming, we advise you only discourage the habit gently, and not force them to quit immediately. Most children grow out of it.

  • Talk about their worries and anxieties

If you get to the root cause of their anxiety and help them feel better about them, their nail-biting habit will automatically reduce itself.

  • Don’t punish them

This will just upset them even more and they might pick up on a different habit and you’ll be back to square one.

  • Remind them to wash their hands regularly

Let them know that nail biting can often be a source of germs and other unhygienic conditions. And remind them to wash their hands multiple times throughout the day. This will reinforce this as a bad habit in a gentle but firm way.

  • Don’t push them

Remember that this is all part of the normal process of growing up. There is no need to be hard on your children. Allow them their own pace instead of adding to their anxieties.

Just make sure you are an approachable parent/caretaker so that children can come to you with any stress they might be dealing with.

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