May 3, 2011

How to Get your Kid to Stop Picking their Nose

If you know me and you've spent more than 5 minutes with my two year old, you may think that I am completely unqualified to write such a post. You. Are. Correct.

However, here are some ideas that I have tried. You have been forewarned. I am not above lying, bribing, and threatening children when it comes to nose picking. IT is serious. You don't want your kid to be that kid in school.

Just scratching, right?

1. "Princesses/ Jedi knights do not pick their noses."
2. "Big girls/boys use tissues. Aren't tissues great? They work so well."
3. "It is not polite to pick your nose."
4. "Eating your boogers will make worms grow in your tummy." (Thanks mom for instilling that little morsel in your children. And for successfully raising 4 children who don't eat boogers.)
I am a princess. Princess do Not pick their noses.
5. "If you keep doing that we are going to put spicy stuff on your fingers." (Fear not. We don't and won't.) But just thinking about spicy things has been known to make small children cry at the thought. Is it a lie? Is it a threat? yes and yes.  
6. "Gianna [Insert sibling/bff that doesn't pick nose here] doesn't pick her nose."
7. Look at your child with a look of absolute horror and disgust.
8. "Ewwwww that's icky!"
9. "Tell your hands to stop picking!" Soon your child will be yelling at their own hands in public places. "No pickin' hands! And no eatin' boogies mouth!"
10. Tell them if they keep inserting fingers into nose something might happen to their fingers. Act sinister. They might cry, but it's ok.
11. Give child good old fashion hanky to store personal mucus in.
12. Gently physically remove  hands from nostrils. 
13. "Godzilla [or other favorite monster] doesn't pick her nose."
14. "If you keep doing that you can't have a gummy vitamin." Or "If you stop I will give you a gummy vitamin."
15. "You know they have a sign on the door at Preschool that says, 'No picking your nose.' You can't go if you do."
16. "If you don't stop we are taking away your brown baby [insert child's favorite toy]."
17. Look at them and shake head furiously in a disapproving fashion. Use finger wagging for extra effect.
18. Smack 'em. I kid. I kid. 
19. Make a sign in your home with a picture of a small person's head and a finger in their nose with a giant slash through it.
20. "Please stop or your nose will start bleeding. Again."

You may be wondering if I have been at all successful in my anti-nose-picking interventions.

Here is an update: now she hides, sneaks, and lies in addition to picking her nose. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

Just the other day...

"Davy, get your fingers out of your nose."

Mo-m my fingers are sleepin in my nose."

"They are awake now. Tell them to get out now."

"I can't, they're takin a nap."

Currently saving money to pay children to be friends with my future elementary school attending daughter, the booger eater.


  1. Let me know if you find something that works! My 3 year old insists it is the only way to properly get snot out of his nose.

  2. so funny Sara. I'm sort of hoping this comes across as a cry for help and that some seasoned moms will chip in some pearls of wisdom...

  3. seasoned mom here - all I can say is some are pickers, some are not - hoping my picker stops before he starts dating!

  4. Well, well, well. I have no advice, but definitely must admit that your daughter is hilarious.

  5. Just to let you know that your techniques really aren't all that bad; the old 1970's behavior modification approach was to take control of the behavior yourself. So when they put their finger up their nose, you hold it there and don't let them take it out. So you are actually very nice about it compared to the old behaviorists.

  6. AnonymousMay 05, 2011

    my finger is sleeing in my nose lol!!!


  7. AnonymousMay 06, 2011

    Do these same techniques apply to adults??? :)


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