Published in the August 2009 issue of PARENTING magazine.
5 Ways To Stop Nail Biting
Tricks to stop that unsightly gnawing that can lead to infection
By Heather Chin, Parenting
Sure, nail biting is a common childhood habit, and, in most cases, won't last -- but it's also unsightly and can lead to infection. How to stop it? Try these tricks from Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., author of What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold.
Hand her something or place your hand on hers when she's nibbling.
Top her fingertips with colorful adhesive bandages or slather on lotion -- the taste will get her attention, and it will help smooth jagged cuticles.
Offer her raw carrots, cukes, or a plastic straw to chew on.
Regular exercise, such as jumping jacks or even kids' yoga, can help, as can carrying a stress ball.
Constant criticism can fuel your nail-biter's chomping (making her do it even more), and bitter polish can seem like punishment. Instead, praise your child regularly when she doesn't attack her nails.