How do I break this habit?

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My 4 and 3/4 year old has taken up biting her nails ALL OF THE TIME and it is seriously driving me crazy.

I am a self-confessed germ-phobe so the thought of her having her hands in her mouth all day just GROSSES me out!! I tell her to take her hands out of her mouth constantly, but it doesn’t help.  It is almost like she doesn’t know she is doing it.

Has anyone had any luck breaking this bad habit with their kids?  Any tips? Advice? Please!

Thanks for helping a mama out!


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  1. 1
    Merri Ann says:

    What worked for me was to take my daughter for a spa appt with me … I had her get a mani and pedi with polish she picked herself. It was amazing how fast she stopped.

  2. 2
    elle says:

    you can try a bitter tasting *polish* like mavala stop to deter her … my oldest is 7 and still sucks her thumb in her sleep … she also bites her nails … this helped when she was younger but now she told me she can’t do either b/c she has a palate expander! lol … go figure, guess the early orthodontics help w/that too! although who’s to say that the thumb sucking didn’t contribute to the problem ….

  3. 3
    TJ says:

    I told my daughter 6 1/2 year old that I’d give her a dollar every time I needed to cut her nails and it worked like a charm! After about six weeks she forgot about the dollar and no longer bit her nails. She’s almost 8 now and her nails look great!

  4. 4

    I wish I had an answer! My husband (now 28) still bites his nails and it drives me nuts! I\’ve tried the bitter nail polish, but it seems to wear off after a few days and I always forget to \"paint\" his nails again. Not sure the spa treatment or the monetary bribe. Hmmm…

  5. 5
    JA says:

    As a 28 year old nail biter myself, I can tell you to skip the bitter tasting polish. It does not wind up being a deterrent. I have to agree with keeping them polished in an actual color, it works for me every time. (And it has been multiple times, because I can never seem to get to that magical amount of time where it stops being a habit.)

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