Seeing your child suffer from a bad habit can feel stressful and heartbreaking. Biting their nails can cause bacterial growth and affect their teeth’ quality. On the other hand, picking their nose can linger into their adult. It can come from external stressors in their life or learning through someone else. And if they’ve done it for a long time, it becomes harder to let the habit go.
So what are some ways to help them confront their problem and move forward healthily? Luckily, here are four efficient ways to help break bad habits in children and find alternatives to keep their hands busy.
Take a Calm Approach
It’s essential to confront your child about their bad habit healthily and calmly. This is especially necessary if they are under the age of five as it helps them create awareness of the problem. Instead of punishing them for something they don’t understand, ask them politely. You can always say, “I don’t like you biting your nails. Could you please try to stop?”
If your child still mindlessly bites their nails, don’t get mad. Instead, bring attention to the problem and help them become aware of what they’re doing. Sometimes, they don’t remember or aren’t paying attention.
Child Involvement in Breaking Habits
Sometimes, you need to involve them to stop the bad habit. For example, say your child has an impulsive decision-making problem, and you need to prevent them from making quick decisions for short-term happiness. For this example, teaching them to resist the urge to buy more things they don’t need can help them make more intelligent choices.
So if you have a particularly stubborn child about their bad habit, have them join you. Help them understand the problems that stem from bad habits and think about what they’re doing. Once they’ve learned to slowly resist buying new and expensive things, reward them by allowing them to get something small instead.
Try Alternative Behaviors
Distracting them with good habits can help them separate from their relationship with the bad ones. One of the most efficient ways to help break bad habits is redirecting their attention elsewhere. There are many pocket-sized fidget toys they can use to keep themselves distracted.
Most of the time, their bad habits come from anxious feelings. So, offering them an alternative relieves their feelings and helps them try a new activity to promote growth.
Remain Consistent With Their Progress
Keeping a close eye on their progress is OK, as long as you don’t jump on them when they make a mistake. Stay patient and calm with them, keeping transparent communication about what to do if they begin to fall back on old habits. Reward them for small milestones they achieve, as it will help motivate them to keep going.
Nail-biting and nose picking are never fun to witness, especially if it’s your child. As long as you remain supportive and caring toward their progress, they’ll overcome anything.