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Hi there. I have a 7 year old that is always biting his nails. I have tried painting them with the special polish, tried rewards…I’ve tried almost everything!! I wonder if any other mums have some ideas we can try. Thanks.


Posted by pakeko, 24th October 2014


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  • My 7 year old is a nail biter. We have even put fake nails on to stop. She just bites them off. ‘Stop and grow’ works a little bit. Have explained about the germs but her hands are still constantly in her mouth.


  • My parents stopped my nail biting when I was a child by reminding me constantly of what was underneath my nails & going into my mouth.
    If I was playing in the dirt they would show me the dirt under my nails & remind me that was going into my mouth, if I picked my nose, played with glue & glitter, helping out with cooking in the kitchen, in the bath, everything. I was so disgusted it was not long before my nail biting had stopped as I was so terrified of all the germs.


  • I have been a nail biter for years, so bad my fingers are actually deformed, my daughter is a biter too. The only thing that worked for me was being aware of it and stopping myself every time I went to chew. It’s hard and takes time, and I still chew when stressed, but I actually have finger nails at age 47!!!


  • I was a nail biter, and still does it ever now and then. Only thing work for me is nail polish and keeping the nails real short.


  • There is a nail polish-like awful tasting thing you can get to put on little ones fingers. It would always last about 2 weeks. Your chemist will know what I’m talking about. Hope it works.


  • My daughter used to bite and peel her nails, especially if i forget to cut them. So really its keeping them as short as possible.


  • Children often do grow out of it; in the meantime give him something to hold onto and play with so that his hands are busy; less opportunity to bite nails. Sensory toys are good for distracting kids and great for building up fine motor skills and are fun too. Good Luck.


  • my little one (7) used to bite hers and still does when she is worried about stuff like just today when she lost her hat.
    i decided to not make it about a bad habit biting nails but a hygiene thing keeping fingers out of mouths. i explained it can damage her teeth if she has them in her mouth and explained to her all the yucky stuff that is on her fingers and under her nails and we did a swab from under her nails and around her fingers to grow the germs in an agar plate. no one wants to stick that yucky agar plate in their mouth!!!
    now she almost never chews her nails and if she does i just say fingers out of mouth.


  • try to distract him. keep them trimmed


  • I think each time you see them biting them just say “stop it” and nothing else and im sure they will soon get fed up with you saying it.


  • I can’t answer your question but I can tell you a bit about me. I don’t bite my nails but the skin around the fingers – worse in a way as they bleed and hurt like crazy. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember (and I’m now in my late 30s). I remember as a kid my parents trying everything to stop it. The paint stuff I just got used to the taste – sure it was yuck but I managed to eat it. I tried to cure myself when I was studying psychology at uni and put myself on a behaviour intevention plan for one of my assignments – that didn’t work either. I don’t think she will just stop doing it one day. I find myself I definitely do it more when I’m stresses, anxious or bored – so maybe there are some underlying issues with your daughter too. But that said I also do it out of habit – or some compulsion to get rid of the bits of skin hanging off. So sorry no help but I understand your frustration.


  • There could be an underlying cause such as boredom or due to being anxiety. Try to get to the root of the cause and work from there. If it is boredom try things to keep their hands busy and mind occupied.


  • Ask yourself .. is the child doing this biting at night in front of the TV? Or at school all day long? Or before lights out at bed time? We need to busy the child’s hands busy try colouring in books, feeding beads make bracelets and necklaces, play card games (go fish), building with blocks like Lego. Setting fun tasks can distract the child from the problem of biting his nails. You will find that one day it just stops. Draw the attention away from the nail biting by giving him another task like making something out of real clay bought from a craft shop. See what craft your child likes and try many different ones. When we were 10 we all learn’t to sew. Try sewing buttons on a cloth and try cross stitch make a place mat. Look for board games etc at op shops and local library make it fun and hopefully busy hands make all the difference. Good Luck!


  • Have you also tried worming him.. Biting nails can be a sign of worms.


  • Not sure if you’ve tried everything usually the paint stuff is enough for them to stop, keep nagging May be eventually they’ll listen


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