Toddlers Who Pick Their Nose !
- Blog submitted by Devanshi Maniar
Off late, my 14 month old daughter has started picking her nose. Eeew, isn’t it?
This may be one of the most irritating habits for parents. It's embarrassing and unsightly. And what can you do to stop it?
Find out why kids pick their nose – certain conditions and environments, you'll discover, make it more likely. And get experts help, if needed, for how to handle your toddler's nose picking.
Why it happens
Your child most likely picks her nose because it's there. She's probably curious or bored; like other habits, nose picking can relieve stress or pass the time. Although some people consider it a "nervous habit" — a category that includes thumb sucking, nail biting, hair twisting, and tooth grinding — nose picking isn't necessarily a sign that your child is overly anxious.
The most zealous nose pickers tend to be children with allergies, because the heavy flow of mucus and crusting give them a "something's up there" feeling that makes it difficult for them to leave their noses alone. I have noticed this when my LO has a runny nose, she picks it more. Also, certain environmental conditions make kids more likely to pick; if your heating or air-conditioning system is drying out your child's nasal passages, a humidifier (or a saline nasal spray) may help.
The good news is that unlike nail biting, nose picking is a habit your child is unlikely to continue into adulthood. Most children eventually give it up on their own, either because they lose interest or because other kids tease them enough to make them want to stop.
What to do
DO NOT REACT. Bite your tongue. No matter how embarrassed you are by this habit (and of course you will embarrassed), don't say anything. Nagging or punishing her won't help, because she probably doesn't realize she's doing it. Techniques such as putting elastic bandages on her fingers will seem like unjust punishment to a toddler for something so innocuous. (However, once your child decides she wants to break the habit, this technique will allow her to catch herself in the act.) Plus, as is often the case with toddlers, pressuring her to stop may trigger a power struggle. The more she realizes that this behaviour gets to you, the more pleasure she'll take in it.
Keep her fingers occupied. If you can identify times and places when your child is particularly likely to pick — while watching television, for example, or in the car — try giving her a substitute (a rubber ball to squeeze, some old school finger games, or finger puppets to play with). Teaching her to blow her nose may also help.
You may want to check things out. If your child is exploring her nose so intensely that she's hurting herself — she's drawing blood — or if the habit seems to be one of a constellation of nervous behaviors (she's sucking her thumb, picking her nose until it bleeds, and having trouble sleeping, for example), you'll probably want to consult your pediatrician.
Wait and hope. As your tot gets older and uses her hands for more complex tasks like building Lego castles and mixing mud pies, chances are her fingers will stay away from her nose of their own accord. If not, and she keeps up the nose picking until she goes off to preschool or elementary school, at some point some other child will say, "Ewww, she's picking her nose," and she'll suddenly be very motivated to stop. At that point you can work on ending the habit together with a system of secret reminders. Until then, just keep her hands busy and your fingers crossed.
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