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Advice on Breaking a Preschooler's Yucky Habit
Hi Ladies, my 4 year old has taken up nail biting. I keep telling her not to do it and I keep trying to tell her that she's going t get more coughs and colds if she puts unwashed hands in her mouth but that obviously doesn't make a dent. It's obviously an unappealing habit but the for me it's the constant germ ingestion that makes me nuts!

Is it cruel to buy that polish that tastes bitter? Any suggestions? I'd love her to break this habit sooner than later and her ped didn't offer up anything other than telling me that it's analogous to nose picking!
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6 Answers
6 Answers
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221025 tn?1332558946
My parents tried to break me of nail biting as a child by using both the nasty tasting nail polish and tobasco sauce - I liked the tasteof both - lol
I think what finally worked was that my mom would spend time trimming and filing my nails and painting them pretty colors - my own little kiddy manicures - I had so much fun having my nails done and showing them off that eventually I didn't want to bite my nails because they looked so nice - I wouldn't try the nose picking comparison as most children like to pick their noses and gross as it is, they like the taste and texture of boogies - ugh - plus they love the reaction that picking and eating gets from grown ups
I'd try manicures together with mommy
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221025 tn?1332558946
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134578 tn?1455656688
I think people bite their nails as a pressure-reliever, so using the bitter finger stuff or anything (even if it forces them to stop), might not do much good, they will just find something else yucky (like nose picking).  If the thing that really bugs you about it is the germs, tell her she may continue to bite her nails if she scrubs her hands and fingernails with a nail brush first.  That sudden acceptance and support from you on something that you have been locking horns on up to now might relieve the stress, and maybe make it boring enough (to have to wash her hands all the time) that she will stop biting altogether.
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134578 tn?1455656688
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150483 tn?1212172156
My dd now 8 has bite her nails as far as I could remember..lol.She still does it.Now I bribe her & take her with me to the nail salon to get flowers & pink nail polish.If she bites,she gets nothing.So slowly I'm breaking her habit.
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150483 tn?1212172156
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Avatar universal
Thank you ladies. Annie, great point, as always. My fear is that she's using it as stress outlet so I don't want to interfere with drastic measures. Renogirl, I will try the manicure idea too.
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134578 tn?1455656688
I liked Renogirl's comment and wonder if it also holds an idea to address nail-biting as a stress reaction ... wouldn't EVERY little girl love mommy/daughter time around a manicure, with her own special little kit of nail polish and decals, and Mommy paying a lot of attention to her?  It would relieve stress all by itself.  Or if the nails are too emotionally loaded, then hairstyles, or pretend-facials, or something else girly just like in a salon?  I'm thinking that the special time with mommy only paying attention to "me," not busy with a bunch of other things, would be so fun that it might blow off some stressors.
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134578 tn?1455656688
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300987 tn?1219987265
I was going to suggest nail painting too. I am 24 and I bite my nails UNLESS I have nail polish on them.
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300987 tn?1219987265
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