You asked

My toddler bites her nails. How can I get her to stop?

If you’ve noticed that your toddler bites his nails, and are worried, don’t be! Even though nail biting is associated with nervousness, it’s usually caused by boredom or some other more mundane reason. Since it’s also likely to continue into childhood and beyond, however, you’re likely to be anxious to get her to stop!

Your first course of action is to make sure that his nails are always cut short – that way, there’s nothing to bite. Keeping his hands busy with other activities is another good way to keep your toddler distracted enough not to bite his nails.

Avoid drawing attention to the habit by speaking to your child about it – that makes it a conscious rather than unconscious habit, and may make the problem worse.

If you are very worried about your child’s nail biting, and he seems nervous too, speak to your doctor. There may be some anxiety at the route of it all. Most children, however, will outgrow the habit of nail biting on their own, albeit sometimes when they are in school. If there’s no serious cause, the best thing to do is wait and see.

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