Child vs. Nail Trimming

As toddlers get older, they become more vocal and what they like and what they don’t. This includes the dreaded hygienic chore of nail trimming. 

Nail trimming is important for various reasons. For one, those little claws left untamed, can leave unintentional scratches on themselves or others. Another reason is to keep the hands free of dirt and grime that can collect under the nails. 

Nail clipping involves touch, pressure, sound, and visual sensations. Some children may not tolerate this task because they perceive the sensations as uncomfortable or painful, not because they are actually in pain.


Here are some OT tips to make nail trimming a little easier:

  1. Massage their hands, fingers, feet, and toes before nail clipping.
  2. Try clipping their nails when they are wet and soft vs. dry and hard. This will limit the auditory (sound) and tactile (touch) components.
  3. Try filing their nails with a soft foam emery board instead of clipping.
  4. Try singing songs while clipping nails, like “This Little Piggy”. This engages motion in the hands, and makes trimming more of a game.

We haven’t gotten into product recommendations yet, but we like the Snipperclipper from BabyFrida. They are curved and offset so you can only trim a little at a time, avoiding accidentally clipped fingers.

Have any ideas or successful suggestions that you found have helped your child during nail trimming? 

Share in the Comments!

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