Your Child's Habits
Many kids have habits that can be downright annoying. Four of the most common ones that children develop and parents complain about are:
- nail biting
- thumb sucking
- hair twirling
- nose picking
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.
What's a Habit?
A habit is a pattern of behavior that's repeated, and the person usually isn't even aware of it. Although kids may be blissfully unaware of a habit, their parents aren't so lucky.
And if your little one usually has one hand stuffed in the mouth and the other entwined in the hair, don't be surprised: Habits tend to occur in clusters.
Here's the lowdown on the most common habits among kids and teens:
If nails chewed to the nub are familiar to you, you're not alone. One of the most common childhood habits is nail biting or picking.
Some studies estimate that 30% to 60% of kids and teens chew on one or more fingernails. And, occasionally, a child may also bite his or her toenails.
Boys and girls appear equally prone to the habit in earlier years; however, as they get older, boys are more likely to be nail biters.
If one of your kids is a hair twirler, odds are it's your daughter. The majority of children who twist, stroke, or pull their hair are girls.
Hair twirling may appear in early childhood as a precursor to hair pulling, either with or without hair loss. But many hair twirlers and pullers stop as they get older. For those who don't, simple behavior modification can help them break the habit.
Nose picking appears to be a habit that, although it usually begins in childhood, may actually linger into adulthood. If you find that hard to believe, consider that a 1995 study of adults found that 91% picked their noses regularly — and about 8% of them reported that they eat what they pick!
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2009 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
Add your own comment
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Steps in the IEP Process