I don’t know about you, but when my baby was born the last thing I was thinking about was cutting his nails. And when it came time to do it for the first time, I drew a blank. It was really freaking hard to cut his nails for some reason. His little fingers wouldn’t sit still, or his nail wouldn’t snip off, it would only bend in the clippers. It was a nightmare and I was afraid Gregory would start scratching everyone, including himself.
8 Tips for Cutting your Childs Nails
My first tip to cutting nails is don’t use nail clippers. Use a nail file! It takes longer, and I really don’t like the sound of nail and nail file, but it worked.
Nails can also be bitten off. Although it is a nasty habit to bite nails, it is alright to carefully do it for your newborn. I couldn’t, but my OB suggested it.
Cut their nails when they are sleeping! Babies that are learning how to use their hands and fingers don’t rest while they are concious. Wait until they are passed out, milk drunk, and snip snip.
Once Gregory got older and started becoming more active, my energy started to deplete more during the day, and when he napped, I napped. Cutting his nails while he slept just wasn’t happening because I was falling asleep with him. I needed Gregory to relax and let me cut his nails while he was awake.
Show them what will happen by cutting your nails, and softly explaining what you are doing while you do it, so the fear of not knowing what is happening goes away. Check out this CHIC Beauty Vlog that gives you tips on how to make bath time easier for child. There are further explanations on similar tips.
As you saw in the video, I let Gregory discover the nail clippers before we even made it out of the bathroom. Children don’t know anything about the world, let them discover it so the fear of the unknown goes away. This is a recurring theme for children, let them discover so they understand it better. Repeat the process every time you sit to cut nails to remind your child that they know what this is, and that it isn’t scary.
Cut them after bath time. Nails are easier to cut when they are slightly more pliable, and moisture will do that. Give your little one a mani/pedi after bath. How fun!
Let them have another pair of nail clippers to hold onto while you cut. This way their need to hold what you have is satisfied. Really, when do our kids not want what we are trying to use? Save yourself the frustration and grab a cheapo one from the dollar store. It doesn’t have to be the best functioning nail clipper.
Don’t force a nail clipping session. This is a biggy, don’t make nail clipping seem like a scary time. You’re the grown up, realize that sometimes your kid just isn’t going to cooperate, and there is no need to make the situation worse by trying to force them into cutting their nails. It just took me 3 days to get all of Gregory’s fingers and toes.
3-Day Nail Clipping Experience
Day one was a struggle, I snipped one nail and we discovered the clippers by pretending to clip both our finger and toe nails. Gregory tried to eat the nail clippers many times, I wasn’t having it.
Day two we managed to clip two nails, and one of his toe nails was a hang nail and got pulled off. Gregory was more interested in discovering the clippers, and I pretended to clip his nails, and then clipped a few of mine so he could watch. He liked that very much.
Day three was a breeze, we sat down, he has a pair of clippers, I had a pair of clippers. We talked and clapped after each snip and I said thank-you for letting me clip his nails. He’s not quite 15 months old, and I doubt he understands every word I say. But even small babies understand when they are being consoled or applauded, and they appreciate it just as much as we would. Nail cutting was over in 5 minutes, and not once in all three days did Gregory scream or run away. Because he trusted that I wasn’t going to hurt him, and there was no fear involved in the process.
I truly think letting children understand what is happening before forcing it upon them helps them cooperate better in our eyes. We need to remember that kids need to learn about everything, and if they aren’t given the chance, they have the tendency to have a temper tantrum from frustration or fear. We are the grown ups, we have the ability of self control and patience. I doubt there is any need for those nails to be cut right this instant. It doesn’t matter how long the process takes, it only matters that it gets done.