My 6-year-old daughter bites her nails constantly. How can I get her to stop?
Nail biting is one of the most common childhood habits. Some studies estimate that 45-60% of kids chew on their nails!
Nail biting, like most habits, often disappears on its own as kids outgrow the urge to do it. In the meantime, avoid threatening or punishing your child — these tactics tend to backfire. Instead, tell her why you don't like the behavior and offer her rewards for self-control.
You can also try having her wiggle her fingers for 30 seconds before she bites her nails — it may become too tedious of an activity for her to continue. Your child may bite her nails when she's under stress, so try to see if there's a pattern to her biting or if something is bothering her.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
Have a question? Email us.
Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
|Does Knuckle Cracking Cause Harm? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Your Child's Habits Nail biting, hair twirling, thumb sucking, and nose picking - these childhood habits are common. Here's how to deal with them.|
|What's Wrong With Biting My Nails? Do you bite your fingernails? If so, you're not alone. Learn more about nail biting - and how to stop it - in this article.|
|Helping Kids Cope With Stress Stress from things like school and social situations can feel overwhelming for kids. But by teaching healthy coping strategies, you'll prepare your kids to manage stress.|
|What Kids Say About: Handling Stress In a KidsHealth® KidsPoll, kids talked about what they stress about the most, how they cope with these feelings, and how they want parents to help.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.