How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails: Important Tips

How To Stop Your Child From Biting Their Nails: According to statistics, about 30% of children have a habit of constantly biting their nails. Outwardly, it does not look very pretty. Nevertheless, in adolescence, almost half of boys and girls are exposed to such harmful behavior. 


If we talk about the adult population, about 25% of men and women continue to bite their nails. Agree – it looks not that unattractive, but even very repulsive. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to cope with this problem in adulthood, which means that it is advisable to start the fight against such a bad habit as early as possible – from early childhood.


Medical science calls this addiction onychophagia, while boys are more prone to biting their nails. Most often, the violation in question is of a psychological nature and is by no means a flaw in the upbringing of parents.

To understand why a child bites his nails, one should consider the motives associated with physiology and psychological and social orientation. In the first case, the following should be noted:

  • a tendency to neuroses and other problems of the central nervous system;
  • diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • the presence of parasites in the body;
  • early weaning from breasts or nipples;
  • irregular hygiene procedures.

If we talk about violations of a socio-psychological nature, then in this case the reasons will be as follows:

  • psychological trauma and stress due to sweat of close relatives, etc.
  • severe fright;
  • tense relationship between parents;
  • a sharp change in scenery;
  • great psychological stress and excessively increased demands on the part of adults for the baby;
  • weak employment of the child – then nails bite just out of boredom;
  • bad example from relatives and friends;
  • sleep disorders;
  • low self-esteem.


Experts do not note clear age parameters that determine when children begin to bite their nails on their hands. This can happen at 3 years old or at 10 years old. It all depends on why he started doing it. And if older guys at least sometimes try to control this process, then for little crumbs it is an overwhelming task.

However, it should be said that most often the problem begins to manifest itself at about 5-6 years. It is at this age that the baby goes to preparatory courses or goes to school.

A child who until that time played in the playground, went to kindergarten, had fun with friends or was resting in the village with his grandmother, now has to sit motionless for 30-40 minutes in one place.

Such a load, both psychological and physical, is a real stress for his body, and therefore the baby is trying to somehow express his protest. In addition, the habit of biting your nails becomes a kind of protective barrier against anxiety.


If you notice that your child bites his nails – in no case show aggression, showing how you dislike it. Roughly yanking and slapping his bail will not solve this problem. At the same time, the baby himself will very quickly understand that this cannot be done with his parents, but alone, when no one sees, it is very possible.

The most important thing in this case is to try as early as possible to find out the reason why your child is constantly nibbling marigolds, and then act in accordance with the recommendations of specialists.


When children bite their nails, it is advisable to tell them in an accessible form what harm this habit causes them. They must understand that prohibitions on this by parents are not their whim, but concern for the health of their child and a desire to help solve this problem.

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Why is biting your nails harmful? The reasons are pretty simple:

  • different bacteria and microbes live under them, and each time this cheerful brotherhood moves into the body after the finger is in the mouth;
  • while biting off the nail, the enamel of the tooth is damaged and the jaw may even move;
  • chewing off the nail plate, you can scratch the mucous membrane inside the mouth, which leads to the occurrence of staphylococcal infections;
  • the destruction of the nail bed occurs – the plate is gradually shortened and over time can turn into a small protruding stump;
  • scratches and bruises may occur in the corners of the nails, which also quickly become infected;
  • the cuticle, which is a protective barrier for nail health, is damaged.

It must be remembered that parents must mentally communicate with their child in order to help them find a way out of a difficult situation. Kids should try to switch to other activities or games.

Tell us that each finger is a kind of friend who helps to write, fold the constructor, and eat. And you can’t hurt your friends. Only the joint efforts of the child and the parents will help to get rid of this addiction.


Often, parents who notice such a tendency turn to doctors with the question of how to wean a child from biting his nails. How to do the right thing, and what to do at the same time, you will be helped by the advice of psychologists, the essence of which is briefly outlined below:

  • Tell him the tale of two characters, one of whom bites his nails and the other does not. Come up with a plot in which no one wanted to be friends with a slob, and a neat boy had many friends.
  • Train your baby to show his emotions with words, which will enable him to release energy correctly.
  • Introduce him to drawing, dancing, walking – try to maximize your free time with useful leisure.
  • Try to shield it from tablets, computers, smartphones – devices that significantly increase nervous tension.
  • Stimulate his desire to engage in active pastime – sign up for football, gymnastics, dancing. But do not forget about the correct distribution of the load.
  • Cultivate the habit of taking care of yourself – remove burrs for babies with a scissors and a nail file, and enroll teenagers in the salon for a manicure.
  • If another “attack” of onygophagia occurs, try to distract the child with a fairy tale, a game, and take him for a walk.
  • Be patient, do not show aggression, hug the baby more often, talk to him about his affairs – so he can distract himself from the desire to bite his nails.
  • Get a construction set for kids with small details. The ideal option would be a toy with metal parts that are connected with nuts and bolts. Such a game very well calms the nervous system and removes all internal negativity.
  • It is also useful to practice application, modeling with the help of plasticine or polymer clay.

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As for special tools, in this case, you can use the use of vitamin and mineral complexeds that improve the general condition of the nail plate. B vitamins and baths with natural vegetable oils (for example, with cedar) have a good effect.

You can also buy specialized varnishes such as “Nekusayka” or “Do not gnaw”, designed specifically for children.


You should also not ignore the advice of your ancestors – our grandmothers also knew very well how to overcome the bad habit of children biting their nails. Not all modern mothers will accept them for various reasons, but, nevertheless, it is still worth mentioning them:

  • Applying “natural” bitterness to the fingers – pepper, agave juice, mustard. Just like Nekusayka varnish, they can discourage babies from pulling their hands into their mouths. However, this method is more or less effective only in relation to young children. Seniors themselves already know that you can simply wash your hands and calmly bite your nails further.
  • Smearing fingers in brilliant green, which should, by its appearance, ward off the habit of pulling nails into the mouth.
  • A soft bracelet is put on the child’s hand. If an adult sees that the baby is pulling his hands into his mouth, then he pulls off the bracelet and clicks on his hand. The method can be effective, although it may seem brutal to some.


In conclusion, it should be said that onychophagia in children is a bright signal for parents, indicating that it is necessary to pay attention to the health and psychological state of their child. In no case should you dismiss the problem and wait until it “outgrows”. A neglected habit can in the future become an obstacle to successful work, full-fledged communication and family happiness.

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