4 answers

Toddler Nail Biting

I have a 23 month old. I was so happy that he put down the bottle just under a year and has never been into pacifiers. He chewed on teethers and such, but we haven't had to worry much about putting little things into his mouth. Now he has just started biting his fingernails (and toenails) until they bleed at times. It doesnt seem to be an anxiety thing, he's a really happy guy, it seems to be more of a boredom, sensory thing. He will pull his shoes and socks off just to bite his toenails! gross! I read some advice to just ignore this, as many kids bite nails and stop on their own, but I am worried about infection with his toenails. I've always been a nailbiter (not the toes) and this seems to be the motivation for me to stop, as I dont want him to see me biting.
Any ideas?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

it's gotten worse. He is now biting the skin off of his fingers and toes (no nails left to bite), he complains ("ow" showing me his fingers or toes) all the time. But anytime he is not actively playing with something they are in his mouth. I've tried giving him pacifiers (bites the ends off them), teethers (immediately bites holes in them).

More Answers

my granddaughter who is 6 always bites her nails when they get long. she started as a toddler. It stops when her mother trims them short. She's never brought blood and so this may not stop your son.

As to infection, I wouldn't worry about it. We're all exposed to so many organisma and don't get infections. In fact scientists say that we're overdoing the antiseptic stuff.

I do wonder if he can feel the pain. Does he respond to pain in other forms? Some kids need more sensory input and this could be his way of getting it. Just an uneducated idea.

1 mom found this helpful

they have a special nail polish that you can buy at most retail stores. Its clear, and its made to stop nail biting. My friend tried it for herself and it worked, she said it tastes really nasty. I would suggest trying that, that would probably be the safest method, and its only a few bucks. I don't know what the stuff is called, but if you go and ask whoever works in the beauty department, i'm sure they'll know. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My 3 1/2 year old bites and picks at his nails, picks at his lips, chews on his clothes and anything else in his reach. His Dad bites his nails, I pick my lips, and I think it's all part of boredom as you said. He is usually zoned out when he's doing these things. Watching a movie or riding in the car. I've tried keeping him active and it really has helped. I give him books, toys, or his Leapster to play in the car and we've cut WAY back on TV. Instead I'll turn on the music and we'll dance, read books, and play with puzzles and stuff. I have cut back on nagging him about these things too. It would just frustrate us both and started to put a strain on our relationship now I try to distract him instead. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

my 4 year old has the same problem. she had a binkie and once we took that away, she started nibbling her nails, hands and feet. more recently she's pulled one halfway off her toe. she does it when she's watching tv or going to sleep. i'm sorry i have no advice how to get them to stop cause i've had no luck. i tried painting her nails so maybe she'll keep them pretty but she didn't care. she has fun picking the paint off first and then biting her nails.

i've heard that you're not supposed to make a big deal out of it cause they don't even realize they're doing it so making them feel bad won't help. if you figure something out, let me know!

1 mom found this helpful

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