Nose picking is a common behavior seen in toddlers. But, then, nose-picking in toddlers is really a big deal? Actually, no, unless the toddler keeps picking their nose till it bleeds. Unquestionably, toddlers eating their own boogers remains one of the most embarrassing behaviors associated with childhood. The sight of a two-year-old picking nose and eating it, without a doubt, is disgusting. Let’s take a look at the causes and potential solutions to the problem of a toddler picking his or her nose all the time.
Why Does My Toddler Constantly Pick His Nose?
Nose picking is not necessarily an indication of anxiety. Still, it can be a nervous habit comparable to thumb sucking, biting nails, twisting hair, and teeth grinding. Many mothers raise the query, “is nose-picking a mental disorder”.In some toddlers, compulsive nose-picking (rhinotillexomania) may be a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Occasionally, children will pick their noses in an attempt to remove a foreign object (such as a pea or bead). If you have any reason to believe that this is the case, you should not attempt to remove it on your own, as doing so will only make the problem worse by pushing the object deeper into the nose. Instead, you should bring the child to the nearest clinic.
Is It Normal For Toddlers To Pick Their Nose And Eat It?
Picking the nose is not unusual behavior in toddlers and younger children. It is one of the behaviors that can be observed in the vast majority of toddlers. Most of the time, a child will pick at his or her nose because he or she feels something over there. It’s also common for toddlers to pick their noses if they are itchy, which is caused by seasonal allergies. Their only goal might be to remove mucus that might be bothering them.
And toddlers are incredibly inquisitive about their bodies, and the reason they pick their noses may be because they are interested in what’s up there. They find a hole, so they want to explore it. Quite understandable. However, issues like compulsive nose-picking in toddlers can be an indication of an underlying problem.
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Risk Of Nose Picking In Toddlers
In most cases, nose-picking in toddlers is not harmful, yet, it can be distressing for both the child and the parent. Having said that, this kind of improper behavior may also have some unfavorable repercussions. If a toddler makes it a habit to pick their nose, they put themselves at risk of a wide range of health problems.
The following are some of the dangers of toddlers picking their noses:
- When a toddler’s nails are too long, they can cause cuts to the nose and possibly cause a nosebleed. Nosebleeds in children under the age of three are most frequently caused by children picking their noses
- Nose picking in toddlers can lead to the development of nasal sores
- There is a tendency among young children to pick their noses and then not wash their hands afterward. As a result, they may spread germs that can infect the rest of the household. This is a matter of concern in light of the rising number of respiratory disorders in children, such as COVID-19
- Impetigo is a bacterial skin illness that can occur in children who constantly pick or lick their noses. If they have a serious case of impetigo, they will require antibiotic treatment1
- When nose picking is done too roughly, there is a risk of causing injury to the nasal cavity. Because of this, the nose openings of the toddler could get constricted over time
How Can I Stop My Toddler From Picking His Nose All The Time?
It is not recommended that you chastise your child for picking their nose. Instead, insist on using a tissue instead of their fingers. Similarly, avoid getting spicy sauce, chili powder, or other irritants on your child’s fingers. This can cause severe burning and inflammation within the nose. Similar to correcting any other “bad habit,” this issue requires consistent and positive reinforcement.
Here are a few pointers to consider.
1. Teach them why the behavior is undesirable
Explaining things to a toddler will help him or she understand them better. Have a conversation with them about the dangers of disease, germs, and bacteria. Let them know the harmful effects of nose-picking. And make them aware that by not washing their hands after picking their nose, they are spreading germs that could infect the rest of the family.
2. Provide distraction
There are times when a child who picks their nose simply needs to have something to do with their hands. Oftentimes, all that is required is energy redirection. Find another way for your child to get rid of his or her nervous energy. Sensory toys like bubbles are wonderful for this. They keep little hands occupied and out of noses. Creating things with play dough, building with blocks or simple building sets is a favorite activity for toddlers. Take advantage of it.
The sight of toddlers eating boogers is disgusting. You must first get them to stop picking up the boogers if you want them to stop eating them. If neither of the preceding two strategies works, there are a few other options to consider.
3. Wrap their finger with a bandage or tape
You might have noticed people who had chickenpox and were unable to control their itching would have oven mitts wrapped around their hands. The same idea is applicable in this situation. Wrap bandages around the fingers that your child uses to pick at his or her nose.
4. Trim the fingers’ nails
Make sure that your child’s fingernails are trimmed to a reasonable length. This helps to prevent the nails from irritating the inside of the nose or removing scabs, both of which can lead to bleeding or infection if they are not done properly.
5. Never allow the child’s nose to dry out
The toddler will be more tempted to pick their nose as it dries out. Maintaining a moist nose can help prevent the formation of boogers by preventing the accumulation of mucus. Making sure your child drinks enough water is crucial for their health and can keep their nasal passages moist.
Give your child a lot of fluids to drink throughout the day if you live in an area that has a dry climate or if you notice that an air-conditioned room is drying out their nasal passages. Alternately, you could try putting a humidifier in their bedroom while they sleep. A saline nasal spray and nasal lubricant gel could also be helpful, but only if the toddler can tolerate using them. Keep saline solution around. When you see your child tempted to pick his or her nose, apply it to his or her nose.
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6. Teach the toddler how to blow his or her nose
Your child may also be picking their nose because they dislike the feeling of mucus in their nose. We, adults, know how to blow our noses with a tissue. However, toddlers may not understand how to blow their noses. If your child is old enough to learn how to blow, you can start to teach them. Ask your child to gently blow their nose instead of picking at something irritating inside their nose. If you find that your child has a stuffy nose and they are too young to learn how to blow their nose, you can help clear their nasal passages by using a bulb syringe and a small amount of saline solution.
7. Create a code word
You and your child should come up with a “secret code” that you can use when you are out in public to politely ask your child to stop picking their nose. It could be a word, a sound, or even a clap. This is a very practical way to put a stop to any unwanted behavior by a toddler! Don’t forget to give your child a reward as soon as they have listened to your warning and acted accordingly.
8. Check to see if the toddler has any nasal issues.
Often, nose picking is a sign of a more serious problem with the nose. It is possible that the toddler suffers from a disease, an allergy, or a condition such as growth inside the nose that is the root cause of their habit of picking their nose. You need to discuss this matter with the children’s pediatrician.
9. Find the cause of anxiety and fix it.
If you suspect that your child is picking their nose because they are anxious, it is important that you investigate the cause of the behavior and figure out what is causing them stress. If you believe that your child is experiencing anxiety, it is recommended that you consult with your child’s pediatrician.
How to tell if a habit is anxiety-related? Consult a pediatrician or a children’s therapist if the toddler’s nose-picking draws blood or if it’s part of a cluster of nervous behaviors (sucking her thumb, biting nails, pulling hair, trouble sleeping, etc.). In cases like this, nose-picking could be a sign of anxiety or another emotional issue she needs help with.
10. Treat the root cause of the allergy.
It’s possible that your child’s nose-picking is caused by allergies, in which case you’ll want to take steps to address the allergy. Making use of allergy-proof covers for bedding, taking an antihistamine, and bathing after exposure to allergens are all examples of preventative measures. Consult with your child’s pediatrician or allergist to develop a plan tailored to his or her specific needs.
11. Exercise patience
If you want the toddler to outgrow their bad habits, you will need to exercise patience. As your child grows older and learns to use her hands for more complicated activities, their fingers will naturally refrain from touching her nose. If this does not occur and the toddler continues to pick his or her nose until entering preschool or elementary school, he or she will stop the behavior when other children express disgust.
12. Avoid overreaction
When your toddler picks their nose, you should refrain from nagging or punishing the child in any way, regardless of how mortified you may be by this behavior. An excessive response will not be productive in this situation. Most of the time, the toddler might not even know they are picking their nose. Make sure you don’t punish a two-year-old for something so trivial. Additionally, forcing a toddler to stop something can have the opposite effect.
Your child may pick his or her nose for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to relieve nasal discomfort. Sometimes the habit indicates nervousness, curiosity, or boredom. It does not matter what the motivation is; this behavior is not tolerated in any setting. We hope this article gives you some insight into how to handle toddlers who pick their noses.
The small, fragile vessels lining the mucosa are susceptible to rupture and when the toddlers pick their noses, it ends up in nose bleeding.
However, nosebleeds rarely result in significant blood loss. Nosebleeds can also be caused by dry air drying out the nasal lining, which makes it more vulnerable.
Severe nose picking can even cause damage to the nasal septum, which is the thin layer of cartilage that separates your two nostrils. This only occurs in extreme cases.