When Your Child Picks His Nose...And You Don't Know What To Do
It happens suddenly and most often in public. Your toddler is standing near the cake table at a birthday party. S/he's waiting for the cake cutting and in a flash, the hand moves to the nose, a finger shoots up into the nostril and the digging begins.
You're naturally embarrassed as you've repeatedly told your child not to do it, but it still happens, again and again, every time. You feel the world is staring at you and your child but your little digger is busy doing his/her job and doesn't even know what the fuss is all about.
So why do children dig their nose and why do they do it so often?
Health experts feel that children who have frequent colds tend to dig noses more often, for obvious reasons. After a bout of a runny nose due to infections or allergies, the mucus tends to dry up and harden in the nostrils. Children get the feeling of something being 'stuck’ in their nose and try to get the stuck thing out. They don't really realise that mucus is 'dirty’ and full of germs. Some kids, brace yourself for this, eat their mucus and don't make a big deal about it(Yuck, right?)
Just like nail biting, nose picking is a habit that needs to be discouraged simply because it's unhealthy more than embarrassing. Here's how you can try to get rid of your child's nose picking habit.
- Keep giving your child steam inhalation so that the nose clears up completely whenever they have a cold
- Encourage them to keep washing their hands
- Try to gently distract them if you see that they're touching their nose or mouth and avoid yelling
- Tell them why it's important to stop digging their nose. They might not understand right away, but soon, they will
Remember, your child still doesn't realise the magnitude of germs and keeping clean. Reminding them gently and rewarding them when they visit the bathroom to clear the nose will motivate them to kick the habit.