Young children can develop many annoying habits that drive even the happiest of parents over the edge sometimes! Some parents tend to become over-caring or over-attentive, and some even start to ridicule or tease their children, making them feel horrible.
Bad habits in children: The good news is that most of these childhood habits are harmless and often disappear if dealt with appropriately. Offering your child a relaxed and secure environment is the key to resolving bad habits. Listed here are seven common habits that children aged one to three often develop, and what you can do to help them grow out of them.
7 Bad Habits in Children You Must Avoid To Develop Till Age 5
What do I need to know about bad habits and behaviors in children? Parents find many habits and behaviors of their children annoying. You can take some precautionary measures to avoid these Bad habits in children before they develop them.
- Nose Picking
As children discover their body, they are bound to put their finger up their nose sooner or later. Eventually, they may even start to remove the contents and try to taste them, or wipe them off on anything they can find. This is obviously a dirty and disturbing habit, not to mention socially unacceptable.
Vigorous nose picking can cause nose-bleeds and also increase the risk of respiratory infections since viruses can easily gain entry into the nasal cavities via dirty hands. Rubbing eyes after nose picking can cause infections such as pinkeye. Minor injuries, including scabs and sores inside the nostrils are also common.
To stop your child from picking their nose, use matter-of-fact comments rather than outright harsh remarks. Offer tissues, wash their hands and keep their fingernails trimmed. To heal and soften scabs, use petroleum jelly or a humidifier. By teaching them in a practical and calm manner, the habit can be somewhat controlled by the age of four or five.
- Hair Pulling
Hair pulling at this age begins with twirling or pulling the hair as the child sucks their thumb or pacifier. Once the sucking is over, the hair pulling ceases as well. In certain cases, continuous uncontrolled hair pulling can result in conspicuous bald spots.
The most effective way to stop this habit is to ignore it and focus more on trying to break the thumb-sucking. It will require a lot of motivation from your young one, but isn’t impossible to achieve.
- Thumb Sucking
According to most experts, ‘comfort-sucking’ is a common and entirely normal habit in very young children. It usually starts when the baby discovers their thumb and experiences a soothing sensation when he sucks on it. The latter is often combined with hair pulling or stroking a favorite toy, and is usually done when the child is tired, bored or frustrated. Although most children quit by the age of five, about 20 percent carry on thumb sucking.
Even though the habit is considered normal, there is a chance of sucking on infected wounds and dirty nails. Moreover, the habit can crush a child’s self-esteem if it continues into school-going years. Rest-assured, there are many ways to break thumb-sucking. Offer a secure environment, and provide other creative ways to prevent boredom and frustration. Try applying a bitter-tasting solution on the thumb, or a bandage, or anything that reminds the child to avoid the habit.
- Fiddling With Genitals
Babies discover their genitals just as they being to discover their other body parts. They often try to reach for them and learn that they provide a pleasurable sensation – which is absolutely normal. Nearly all children fiddle with their genitals around the ages of three and four, and if they’re shunned or ridiculed, they might conclude that there is something wrong with them.
Contrary to many assumptions, fiddling or masturbation does not cause physical problems or health complications. It is important to develop a positive image about your child’s body in their naïve minds. When teaching them about body parts, use the proper names. Distract them if they start reaching for their genitals in public, and as they grow older, explain to them that this is something to be done in privacy.
- Nail Biting
Nail biting usually begins by the age of three. It is usually that habit that begins due to nervousness, boredom or extreme concentration. Biting and breaking off brittle nails reinforces the habit and eventually it develops into a subconscious reflex. This often results in inflammation, bleeding and infection of the cuticles and skin around the nails. Moreover, edges of the teeth can also develop small fractures, mainly the incisors.
There are various techniques to help your child overcome this unsettling habit. Moisturize and lubricate your child’s nails to make them hard. Smooth out the edges after cutting. For girls, applying nail polish can also strengthen the nails.
- Licking Or Chewing The Lips
This usually starts when children try to soften or moisten dry lips, or even remove the chapped, rough skin. It usually manifests as a result of boredom, tiredness or tension. The more the habit continues the drier and more injured and rough the lips become. Chronic licking irritates the skin and makes it susceptible to infections and sores. Red and irritated skin around the mouth is the most obvious sign that your child is biting or licking their lips.
Lip balm is the best healer for this situation. It smoothes the edges and also provides relief against the soreness. Applying the balm is an up-and-down motion prevents the cracks from reopening. Do this three to four times a day, and especially at bedtime.
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Almost 15 percent of children grind their teeth when they sleep, and no definite cause has yet been established. Some suggest it is a nervous habit brought out by anxiety, others think it an effort to correct an irregular bite. Teeth grinding involves clenching the jaw forcefully, which could cause aching, worn out or loose teeth, and even headaches.
Be sure to maintain your child’s dental hygiene. Try to find out and reduce any stressors and provide emotional support. Acknowledge your child’s efforts to please you and make bedtime as relaxing as possible.