When Abby was younger, she started biting and chewing on her fingernails. She would bite her tiny little nails as far down as she could (without drawing blood or hurting the skin below). It took months of talking to her and bribes, but she finally stopped biting them and now actually loves having long(ish) powder pink painted nails.
Around the time that she stopped chewing her nails though, she started picking at the skin on her thumbs… it seems that she traded one
bad soothing habit for another. The problem is that she ends up picking the top layer of skin off, exposing the raw, red skin below. Putting band aids over them helps temporarily and allows the wound to heal, but it’s not the perfect solution.
As a child, I used to twirl both the hair on my favorite doll as well as my own hair, so I know just how soothing the repetition of hand busyness can be – whether twirling hair or picking at things. I wanted to make Abby something that she could play with and pick at, so that she would finally leave her thumbs alone.
Yesterday, while at Wal-Mart, I picked up a packet of teal acrylic beads, some faux leather, and cord clasps. Once Abby got home from Preschool, we got to work making her a bracelet that will hopefully become the distraction that she needs. It’s long enough to wrap around her wrist twice, and the chain from the clasp can either hang loose or wrap over her thumb. I purposefully left enough space for her to be able to twirl and push the beads back and forth.
Time will tell if this is the solution that I’m looking for…