Nose Health for Kids

How to Get Toddlers to Stop Eating Their Boogers

Keep your toddler's nose clean. Use a suction bulb, tissue or cotton swab to remove boogers and crust. When nothing's in your toddler's nose to pick out, she has nothing to eat.

Run a humidifier in your home or in your toddler's bedroom. If your toddler's nose itches, he might be picking it at to relieve the itching. A humidifier increases the moisture in the air, which can help with the dryness in his nose. A dry nose is often an itchy nose and helping with the dryness can reduce the boogers in his nose, which will also prevent him from eating as many.

Hand your child a tissue every time you see her put her finger in her nose and eat her boogers. Chances are, she'll get so frustrated with having to wipe her nose every time you catch her eating a booger, she'll turn to the tissues more often instead.

Ask your child to wash her hands when you catch her picking and eating her boogers. This, too, can be frustrating enough to encourage your toddler to use a tissue rather than consume her boogers.

Distract your toddler. Find something even more interesting for your toddler to focus on. Get out her favorite book and offer to read to her or ask her to color in a coloring book with you. Take her outside to throw a ball around or draw with sidewalk chalk as additional ways to distract her.

Things You Will Need

  • Suction bulb
  • Tissues
  • Cotton swabs
  • Humidifier

Warning

Pay attention to whether your child has allergies. Many toddlers pick their nose if they have allergy-like symptoms, and a common place for them to put those boogers is in their mouth. If you suspect that your child does have allergies, make an appointment with her pediatrician. Often, if the allergies are treated, the nose-picking and booger-eating will stop.

Nosebleeding in Toddlers

Definition

The medical term for a nosebleed is epistaxis, and it is fairly common among children. The definition of a nosebleed is simply bleeding from one or both nostrils. According to HealthyChildren.org, some preschoolers can have several nosebleeds each week, but almost all children experience occasional nosebleeds throughout childhood. Your toddler's nose has a major supply of blood, which is why it makes such a mess when she has a nosebleed. The amount of blood your child loses is usually minimal, however.

Causes

Nose-picking is a common toddler behavior, and it can cause a nosebleed if your child picks at the lining of his nasal passages too much. If you suction your toddler's nose to keep it clean, it can lead to bleeding, too, according to HealthyChildren.org. Dry air can also be a cause, according to MayoClinic.com, because it dries out the nasal passages, which increases the risk of bleeding. Nasal allergies, sinus infection, the common cold or a bacterial infection can also cause a nosebleed. Trauma or injury can cause a bloody nose, too. In rare cases, your toddler might have a blood-clotting problem so if she gets frequent nosebleeds, make an appointment with her pediatrician.

What to Do

According to KidsHealth, most nosebleeds can be treated at home. The exception is if your toddler's nosebleed lasts longer than 30 minutes or if you're worried she's losing too much blood. In these cases, call your child's pediatrician. Sit your child down and tilt her head forward. Squeeze her nose shut for about 10 minutes, which almost always stanches the flow of blood. If not, squeeze the nose for another 10 minutes, the HealthyChildren.org website recommends. AskDrSears also recommends squeezing the bridge of the nose.

Considerations

If your toddler sustained an injury that caused the bloody nose, always seek medical attention immediately. If your toddler is having a hard time breathing with a nosebleed, call her pediatrician or go to the emergency room. Don't tip your toddler's head back while you're pinching his nose. This can cause the blood to run down the back of his throat, which can lead to upset stomach and vomiting. Don't stuff tissues or gauze up your toddler's nose to stop the blood either. Once the bloody nose stops, remind your toddler to take it easy for a while to help prevent it from bleeding again.

How to Get Kids to Stop Wiping Their Nose With Their Arms

Demonstrate how to blow your nose using a tissue while your child watches. Most children are visual learners and will understand the steps better when they see a parent completing them.

Give your child a tissue and have her place it over both nostrils. Ask her to blow out, pinch both nostrils, and wipe around the base of the nose with the tissue. Then have her fold the tissue over to expose a clean section, and ask her to wipe her nose again before tossing the tissue in a nearby trash can.

Take your child to a nearby sink so he can wash his hands with hand soap and water.

Give your child a bottle of hand sanitizer to use when it isn't possible to get to a sink, such as during the bus ride to and from school.

Provide your child with a pack of pocket tissues. She can easily store them in a jacket pocket or the front compartment of her backpack.

Create a step-by-step picture review on a sheet of poster board of the steps needed to properly wipe your nose. Hang this poster up in a location that your child has access to, such as a refrigerator or bathroom wall.

Things You Will Need

  • Tissues
  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pocket tissues
  • Posterboard

Tip

Consider getting a wristband made for nose wiping if your child is younger and not quite picking up on the necessary steps to wipe his nose with a tissue.

Teaching Children Not to Pick Their Noses

No Punishment

As with most nasty habits that children develop, using punishment as a means to stop the behavior results in shame and frustration on your child’s part, according to Kathleen Berchelmann in a ChildrensMD article. Instead of punishment, give your child the tools to tackle the nose-picking habit on her own. This includes having a frank discussion with your child about why nose picking might be harmful -- spreading germs, causing nosebleeds -- and why it is important to stop or limit the behavior.

Habit Breakers

Often, parents with children who are thumb suckers or nail bitters use habit-breaking aids to eliminate the habit. Consider putting bandages on your child’s fingers to make getting the finger up the nose more difficult. You might also create a secret word that you will say whenever you observe the nose-picking habit happening to remind your child he should not pick his nose.

Visit the Pediatrician

The nose picking might be because of an underlying medical issue, including allergies or dehydration. Have your pediatrician check your child’s nose for signs of irritation and allergies, and get a handle on those issues before addressing the nose-picking habit. Keep the nose area hydrated with saline drops or petroleum jelly to prevent hard mucus deposits from forming and tempting your child to use his fingers to remove the irritation.

Only In Private

If your child will just not kick the nose-picking habit, teach her that, if she needs to pick her nose, it is something that should only happen in private. Encourage her to only pick her nose in her bedroom, bathroom, or other private area and insist that she wash her hands before and after each nose picking session to limit the spread of germs. In fact, nose picking might even have some benefits, acting almost like a vaccine in the GI tract by introducing small amounts of pathogens that the nose secretions trap, according to ChildrensMD.