How to Stop Nose Picking

Children often do many things that they're not supposed to, and nose picking happens to be one of the more common unwanted behavioral habits that your child might develop. Why does it do it? For several reasons: it might be a nervous habit much like thumb sucking, nail biting or teeth grinding, or it can simply be that there's something in there that doesn’t feel right. Most children who pick their nose usually have allergies, as mucus tends to crust inside the nose, creating an uncomfortable feeling. 

If you have your heating or air-conditioning system on, it might be drying your child's nasal passages, creating nasal irritability and hence nose-picking. In fact, your child might pick its nose simply because it’s bored or curious. At any rate, nose picking is a habit that will most likely be dropped as your child grows older, but there are a few things that you can do to help put an end to it faster.

What to Do About Nose Picking

Don't lecture. As embarrassing of a habit as it is, resist the urge to say anything to your child. Punishing or lecturing your preschooler when it picks its nose won't stop it from doing so and might trigger a power struggle between the two of you.

Keep your child's fingers occupied. Try to identify the times or situations when your child is more likely to pick its nose and keep its hands occupied. This could be while it's watching television or during car rides. Give it a fuzzy rabbit's foot to stroke, a squishy ball to squeeze, or finger puppets to play with instead.

Address your child's allergies. If your preschooler is suffering from allergies, talk to your pediatrician to find proper medical solutions. The most common allergens affecting children today are dust mites, animal dander, pollen and molds; try to ensure that your home is free of these to avoid exacerbating your preschooler's condition.

Keep your child well hydrated. Living in a dry climate and regular exposure to heating or air-conditioning systems can dry out your child's nasal passages. To counteract this effect, encourage your child to drink lots of fluids during the day and use a humidifier at night.

Teach your child to use a tissue. Keep a few clean tissues in your child's pocket wherever it goes and teach it to use them to clean out its nose properly so that it doesn't end up needing to use its fingers.

Ignore it. If you've tried all possible strategies and your child still won't stop picking its nose, then just ignore it. It'll drop the habit eventually. Just make sure that you frequently wash your preschooler's hands to avoid nasal infections and trim its nails regularly.