Having strong, neatly-groomed nails is a sign of good health and hygiene, and health experts recommend that parents should help their children care for their nails until they’re about nine or 10 years old. After that, kids can be taught to trim and keep their nails in good condition, and develop healthy hand and nail-care habits that will benefit them as they grow. If your child feels comfortable trimming or filing their nails on their own, here’s what you can do to teach them about proper nail care at home.
Have the right tools on hand
To encourage your child to care for their nails, you’ll have to assemble a nail care kit that they can use whenever they need it. You’ll need some child-friendly nail clippers or manicure scissors, an emery board, and a small bottle of hand lotion or baby lotion to start with. If your child wants to try painting their nails, include a few bottles of nontoxic nail polish, such as vegan or cruelty-free polish. To prevent nails from splitting due to constant use of nail lacquer and polish remover, add a bottle of nail strengthener, which is a good alternative for polish, as it delivers shine and a hint of colour while protecting your child’s nails from damage.
Trim nails the right way
The best time to cut nails is right after a bath, since they become much softer, making trimming so much easier for your little one. Teach them to trim their fingernails straight across, then round them at the edges to prevent them from snagging onto clothing. Meanwhile, toenails should be cut short and straight across to reduce the risks of having ingrown nails. To get rid of rough or sharp edges, nails should be filed in the same direction with an emery board. Ideally, children should cut their nails at least every two weeks to keep them at a healthy length, but they can also file them every week to keep their nails in good shape.
Encourage them to moisturise after washing
Constant hand washing can cause nails to split or break easily, as soap and water can dry your child’s nails. Encourage them to apply lotion on their hands and rub a bit into their cuticles and nails to keep their fingernails strong and flexible. Place a bottle of hand lotion on the sink so that your child will be reminded to use it after washing their hands.
Use nail polish sparingly
It’s okay for kids to use nail polish, and it’s a fun way to express themselves, but remind them to use it sparingly as it can stain or damage their nails. After they take off their polish with a non-acetone remover, encourage them to stay polish-free for at least a week before trying out a new colour. You can also let them apply nail stickers that are specially made for children if you’d rather let them wait a few years before trying nail polish.
Encourage good hygiene habits by teaching your child how to care for their nails the right way. In case of nail problems or signs of infection, consult a dermatologist for proper care and treatment.