Right from a child sucking his thumb to biting his fingernails, children will explore more and more new behaviors as they grow older. One of those that could be extremely embarrassing to parents is nose picking. Though this is a normal part of growing up and learning, yet parents don’t think it’s good manners for their kids to be picking their noses in public. For all such parents who tear their hair out seeing their toddlers nose picking, here’s help to kick the habit:
- Scare the child: If you say something frightening to the child regarding his habit of picking his nose, you can be sure he’ll stop doing it. For instance, if you say, “Any more of that and your finger will fall off. Then, you’ll be the only four-year-old with four fingers on one hand.”
- Smack the hand that picks his nose: Smack him on his hand that’s reaching out to his nose and soon you’ll see him doing less and less of it.
- Exaggerate it in company: When you magnify the issue, he’ll stop doing it if only out of shock and disgrace. So, in the company of a couple of people, say, “Stop that for God’s sake, Pete.” And follow it up with some gagging sounds. This will make him quickly take his finger out of his nose and pretend as if he was doing something else, not picking his nose. Anyway, you’ve made your point and he’s taken it.
- Perhaps he has an allergy? Perhaps, your kid is being bothered by an allergen in his nostrils. It could be pollen, animal dander or dust mites or something similar. If this is his problem, he needs to be handled very carefully. So, speak to his doctor about ways of reducing such allergens around him.
- Discreetly, pass him a tissue or handkerchief: Instead of making a hue and cry about his nose picking habit, you can nip this habit in the bud by getting him used to using a tissue or handkerchief. Whenever you catch him picking his nose, just press a tissue or hankie in his hand and say, “Here, use this to blow your nose.” If you do this a few times, he will understand that he must keep himself
- Give him lots of fluids to drink: Perhaps, you live in a dry climate or the air conditioning is making his nasal passages dry. To counter this, give him many fluids to drink right through the day and install a humidifier in his bedroom so that he sleeps well at night.
- Teach him to wash his hands often: To keep him from picking his nose, teach him the importance of not having germs on his hands. After all, no child enjoys falling sick, so he’s sure to understand that. Tell him all it means is that he washes his hands and trims his nails and doesn’t let any dirt build up under his nails. When you make it simple for him, he’ll realize he’s doing something wrong and stop doing it.
- Tell him that these things aren’t done in public. Teach him to do such private things in the washroom, nowhere else. And having done it, he must wash his hands.
- Get him busy with games or activities: Maybe your little one isn’t busy enough and just picks his nose out of boredom. If this is his problem, you can divert his attention from himself and let them do tasks like making craft projects, playing Leggo or solving jigsaw puzzles or playing with dough.
- Could it be something deeper? If your child picks his nose so much that you can see blood trickle out of it, you need to speak to his pediatrician for help and advice. Perhaps, this is a symptom of anxiety or some other emotional problem that needs to be addressed immediately before it grows into something else.
As a parent, you can teach your child good manners in good ways. He doesn’t need to be punished or tormented publicly. He can be taught tactfully too, and if you do this, he will value you as he grows up.