A habit is a pattern of behavior that’s repeated and the person usually isn’t even aware of it. Many kids have habits that can be downright annoying. Three of the most common ones that children develop and parents often complain about are: nail biting, thumb sucking and hair twirling. How to help your children break those bad habits? Here are some advices you should consider.
Firstly, be patient in breaking those bad habits. Because habits take time to develop, they’re also going to take time to be replaced by alternative behaviors. Remember to reward good behaviors, positive habit must be firmly establishes before the old one will disappear.
Secondly, calmly point out what you don’t like about the behavior and the reason. Say something like, “I don’t like it when you bite your nails. It doesn’t look nice. Could you try to stop doing that? ”. Most important, the next time you see the nail biting, don’t scold or lecture. Punishment, ridicule, or criticism could cause the behavior to increase.
Last but not least, the parents can suggest alternative behaviors. For example, when your child is a nail-biter, instead of saying, “Don’t bite your nails”, try saying, “let’s wiggle our fingers”. This will help the children distract. To provide more distraction, you can ask your kids help you in the kitchen or work on a craft.
Although your child’s habits may bother or even worry you, relax. In most cases, a habit is just a phase in the normal developmental process and is not cause for alarm. Most habits will disappear, usually by the time a child reaches school age, because the child no longer needs it or outgrows it.