Knuckle cracking, nail biting and hair pulling are just some of the pesky habits that most children can’t seem to stop doing. While these habits may be an indicator of your child’s boredom or anxiety, it’s important that as parents, you should be the first one to help them break such nasty habits. To give you an idea as to how you can help your kid, we’ve listed down several tips that both of you can use in breaking each of his nervous habits.
1. Recognize the Reason Behind the Habit. When a kid gnaws on his nails, picks at his scab, or bites his shirt’s collar, it could be a sign that he’s suffering from anxiety. To solve this, experts recommend that you look into what might be making your child anxious. Ask if he has problems at school, if he’s being bullied or if he’s affected by some family issues. If your child won’t speak up and his habits still continue, then it might be time to take him to a therapist or a paediatrician.
2. Respond to its Cause Directly. Another effective way to deal with nervous habits is to directly respond to its cause. Such habits are often caused by the child’s stress or anxiety, and the best way to deal with this is to make your kid realize the importance of being optimistic. Tell him that if he’s a positive-thinker, more people would want to be around him. Also, explain to them that there are more constructive ways that he can do to voice out his complaints without being too negative about it.
3. Motivate Him to Break His Habit. Motivating your child over something can really go a long way. Just like adults, if a child has a clear reason, motivation and interest to break his nervous habit, he’ll definitely make a change. You can also practise a reward system to further motivate him in breaking his habit.
4. Understand That a Habit Eventually Goes Away. While most habits develop at an early age, some of it eventually fades away. So in the meantime, just do your best to encourage and support your child every time he’s behaving appropriately, and focus on the positive things that he does.
5. Replace His Habit with Something Else. In order to achieve this, you and your child’s teacher should work together to identify effective replacement behaviours. Closely study the habit of your child first, then think of a replacement that he’ll likely accept. Sometimes, a simple swap is already enough to break the pesky habits.
Whether such habits is a manifestation of anxiety or boredom, it’s important that you help your child in dealing with these practises. Not only to stop him from damaging his looks, but to improve himself as a person as well.