By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center
There are certain things we do everyday as adults that we don’t think about including tying our shoes, preparing food and…blowing our noses. They may seem like mundane, easy tasks to us, but to a child just learning, they can be a lot more complicated. One task in particular, blowing your nose, is actually a skill you had to master as a child; it was not something you just knew how to do.
Many children actually struggle to blow their noses because the act of holding a tissue and blowing their noses at the same time takes a bit of practice. It’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time; it’s definitely do-able, but it takes some concentration, even for adults!
If your child is struggling to blow his nose, try introducing him to these tips.
- Learn to blow without a tissue. This may sound funny, but teaching a child to blow air through his nose is actually one of the most complicated steps. By mastering this feeling first, you can then add the tissue. Tell him to put his hand under his nose and blow. Can he feel the air coming out? Make sure his mouth is closed so that he doesn’t think the air coming out of his mouth is coming from his nose. It’s also easier to blow air out of your nose if your mouth is shut. Try it for yourself!
- Use a small mirror. In addition to having your child feel the air coming out of his nose, it can be helpful to have your child “see” the air as well. Once again, have your child close his mouth and put the mirror right under his nose. Ask him to blow. Does he see the steam forming on the mirror? Seeing the air will help him remember where it needs to come out when he needs to blow his nose.
- Race to the finish line. Stick 2 pieces of tape about a foot away from each other. Place two feathers on one line, the starting line, and see who can blow their feather to the finish line fastest. Remember to close your mouths and only blow out of your noses! This is another fun way to help your little one practice blowing out his nose.
Once he understands how to blow out of his nose, he can practice blowing into a tissue. Make this step fun too! Ask your child to decorate a box of tissues he can use every time he needs to blow his nose. When he succeeds in blowing his nose, present him with a small reward (similar to potty prizes) like a sticker or a couple M&Ms.
Teaching your child to blow his nose might be a bit frustrating at first, but once he understands the difference between just wiping a runny nose and blowing it, he’ll prefer to use his new-found skill because he’ll feel so much better.
What tips and tricks have you used to help your child blow his nose?