As a mom and a teacher, I’ve seen more than my fair share of nose-picking. It’s unhygienic, unpleasant to watch and, frankly, just gross. So how do moms stop saying “Get your finger out of your nose!” and get their little boogers to stop?
Though you might think that most kids pick their noses out of habit, boredom or nervousness, some kids pick their noses for more...legitimate reasons.
One Circle of Moms member, “Ink,” points out that many nose pickers are kids with allergies. Since their noses are often mucus-filled and crusty, they feel like there’s something in there they have to get out. Dry noses are often a reason for in-depth investigation, too.
Many Circle of Moms members lament that nose-picking seems to be one of the hardest habits to break,but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some things to try. Here are eight ideas Circle of Moms members have shared on dealing with nose picking
1. Teach Your Child What Boogers Are For
Some kids have no idea what “boogers” actually are. They just know they make moms say “eeewww” when they’re waved theirs around! Let your child know that snot has a function: making sure dirt and germs don’t get breathed into your his lungs. So, when he picks out and eat those boogies, he's just giving the germs another way in.
2. Treat Colds and Allergies
Circle of Moms members Adrienne C. notes that when her stepson doesn't take his allergy medication “the poor kid’s sinuses go into overdrive.” A constantly stuffy or drippy nose is just begging to be explored, but there are ways (other than nose picking) to reduce the discomfort. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you think your child might need medication to help deal with their symptoms.
3. Prevent Dehydration
Dry, itchy noses need to be treated physically and environmentally. Mom Lea C.’s advice is “Try putting a humidifier in [their] room at night.” to make the air less dry. Ashley B. says her son’s doctor suggested putting petroleum jelly in his nostrils to keep them moist, and keep him from picking. Other moms say saline spray will serve the same purpose.
4. Teach Nose-Blowing
Little kids have trouble blowing out their noses into a tissue. It takes practice, but it’s worth it. Circle of Moms members suggest buying your child his own tissues and showing him how to use them as often as you need to.
5. Keep Nails Trimmed
The nose-picking isn’t going to stop overnight, so it’s a good idea to minimize the risk of infection and nose picking-induced bloody noses. As mom Catherine H. points out, the risk of infection increases if the inside of the nose is scratched. Trimming your child’s nails makes it harder to inflict damage and may even slow them down if they can dislodge any boogers!
6. “Pick” Your Battle
Like anything else your child does that elicits the words “no” or “stop,” nose-picking can become a power struggle. Brittany S. says her son will “actually do it more” when she tells him to stop because he thinks it’s amusing, a problem mom Megan B. has with her daughter, too. Circle of Moms member Pamela M. has good advice for such situations: “Try to ignore it and see if not getting attention works!”
7. Set Limits
It's not easy to get kids to stop altogether, but you can slow them down. Try setting limits that will discourage the nose picking habit over time and that will at least turn it into a private activity. Jennifer W. told her son "he could pick away if it was done when all alone the bathroom - behind the locked door/stall. And, he must wash his hands before leaving the bathroom."
Depending on how determined your child is, sometimes all it takes in the moment is a little redirection to help him find something else equally as interesting to do. If your child’s hands are occupied, their nose may, for the time being, remain unoccupied.
Does It Ever Stop?
Unfortunately, when it comes to stopping nose-picking, there’s no magical solution. In the end, many moms say the best they can hope for is that peer pressure will end up solving this sticky situation. In the meantime, keep wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer on hand.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.