Nose Picking in Children - Causes and Tips to Stop It

Nose Picking in Kids – How to Get Your Kid to Stop It

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Harsha G Ramaiya (Counsellor)
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As kids grow up, many parents start noticing weird habits or behavioural tendencies in them. Some of them are pretty usual for kids of all ages, such as biting their nails, or sticking their fingers in the ear and smelling the wax, and so on. But picking their nose seems to be the grossest of them all. A toddler picking his nose is not a new thing. It could be simple curiosity or maybe a habit too difficult to throw off.

Is Nose Picking Normal in Children?

Picking the nose is absolutely normal. It is a tendency that every kid ends up doing and some adults do it as well. Our nose is extremely sensitive and any irritation that is felt in it needs to be rid of immediately. The quickest way is by using our fingers. Yes, our society deems it impolite to do this in public in front of others, but some children do end up crossing the line by eating the mucous that comes out of the nose. This can be unhygienic.

Why Do Children Pick their Nose?

Many parents wonder why do kids pick their nose and eat it in the first place if the entire activity is so gross. Well, the definition of what’s acceptable and what’s gross might be established for adults, but kids are just kids. Many kids indulge in nose picking out of necessity as well as out of habit too.

  • Most kids pick their nose when there is an irritating element or too much mucous has started tickling them.
  • The nose does tend to feel dry at times and itch from within, causing the need to stick their finger in and cure the itch.
  • Parents might enforce the habit to clean the nose while bathing, which might end up kids doing it all the time.
  • At times, kids can get nervous. While some kids bite their nails, others might pick their nose.

Why Do Children Pick their Nose?

  • The child could be simply bored, and picking his nose could be quite interesting for them.
  • It could be involuntary. The act of picking the nose is so reflexive that your kid might not even be aware of it.

How Can You Stop Kids From Picking Their Nose?

If the act of your kid picking his nose is getting to you, here are a few ways you can handle the situation.

1. Let It Go

He’s just a kid. Most kids tend to pick their nose and you don’t need to scold them every single time. Try telling him a couple of times and then just ignore it, making sure his fingers are clean at all times.

2. Get a Checkup

If the nose-picking seems chronic and your child seems to be in pain or get immense relief after picking the nose, it could be a sign of an infection or some condition that is making your child uncomfortable. Get a doctor’s opinion when you can.

3. Keep Hands Occupied

Kids at this age are full of energy and feel the need to be occupied with some activity, even when they have nothing to do. Understanding when your child picks his nose can let you know if this is the case. In such a scenario, you can instil another habit in your child to keep the hands occupied. Giving him some chores or even teaching him a Rubik’s cube could help reduce the chances of him picking his nose.

4. Proactive Measures

Scolding your child is never the right way to stop his habit since he might be doing it unconsciously or, at times, there truly might be some irritation in his nose. If it has turned into a habit, you can take corrective action by using tapes on his fingers so that they don’t enter the nose properly. Keep these acts restricted to home so that he isn’t embarrassed when he’s outside.

5. Accept the Act

When you catch your child picking his nose, sit in front of him and pick your own nose as well. When he starts laughing about it, let him understand how funny and weird it feels to see someone do it. Help him understand the need to do it and teach him ways to go to a private place and pick his nose without anybody seeing it.

6. Use a Handkerchief

If your child’s nose has a lot of mucous, picking the nose and having the muocus on the fingers can be very disgusting. Teach him to use a handkerchief to clean his nose and keep his hands clean.

Use a Handkerchief

7. Maintain Hydration

The presence of a dry nose can get quite irritating, resulting in the need to itch the inside of the nose. Make your child drink enough water throughout the day and keep well-hydrated levels in the body.

When to Worry

If you spot your kid picking his nose and eating it, teach him to stop doing that as soon as you can. But if the picking of nose results in nosebleeds or your child seems to be in discomfort, it might be that he might have put an external object inside and is having trouble breathing. Contact your kid’s physician as soon as possible in case of serious situations.

Nose picking in preschoolers is quite rampant and not a cause to worry. Gradually, over the years, by observing others, your kid will get rid of the habit by himself and learn to clean his nose while bathing or in private. Don’t shame your kid for doing so and let him be a kid while he still can.

Also Read:

Know About Behaviour Problems in 5 Year Old Kids
How to Deal with Bad Habits in Children?
List of Good Manners to Teach to Your Kid

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