How to Stop Your Child’s Nose Picking Habit

Nose picking is neither cute nor clean. In fact, any time a parent sees his or her child with a finger up the nostril it’s always quite a shocking thing to see. “Get your finger out of your nose!” is quite a common response. But most children will continue to pick their nose even though they’re scolded to stop. Why does this happen? And is there any way to stop it? Don’t lose hope, parents!

Why Does My Child Pick Their Nose?

Some people consider it a nervous habit like biting one’s fingernails or thumb sucking, but honestly your child more than likely picks his or her nose simply because it’s there and your child is curious! It’s not something a child can look into and see what’s going on so they like to poke around in there. Yes, we are aware that it’s completely disgusting but it’s the truth!

If your child has allergies, this can cause more occurrences of nose picking since things settle in the nose that make your child want to poke around for and get out. Especially dry air like a home in the winter that is blasting heat to warm the home can cause a child’s nose picking habit to become worse. We recommend purchasing a humidifier (cool or warm air – either works well) to add moisture to the home and air in which your family lives, causing less nose congestion for your child…and the entire family. The humidifier can be used all year as well which helps with better breathing in general.

Nose picking will come to an end at some point so don’t be too discouraged. Children either stop because they get teased by their classmates for picking their nose, realize it’s super gross and unsanitary as they get older, or simply because they lose interest in the curiosity of “what’s up there?”.

How You Can Help

Don’t Shame Your Child – There is nothing worse than when a parent or adult shames a child for any bad habit, including nose picking. Don’t nag or force your child to stop picking his or her nose or make them feel “bad” for doing so. Simply explain why it’s not sanitary and polite for one to pick their nose. We don’t recommend punishing your child for this habit either. Again, your young child is curious and it’s natural for them to poke around. Just gently and lovingly remind him or her why people don’t pick their nose and over time, your child will stop.

Keep Your Child’s Fingers Busy – Some parents notice their children pick their nose at certain times like when watching a television show or movie, when being read to, while in the car, etc. so try to keep your child’s hands busy during activities like these. Hand your child a stuffed animal to cuddle or a rubber ball to squeeze for occupied hands!

Teach Your Child How to Blow His or Her Nose – When your child “feels” something up there, their natural reaction is to pick it out! Teach your child the proper technique to blow his or her nose and this may help lessen the nose picking incidences.

Remember to be patient and loving to your child during these different stages of curiosity, learning, and growth. If you do catch your child picking his or her nose, kindly have your child wash his or her hands with soap and water to keep their hands clean and free of nose picking germs! This too shall pass, we promise.