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How to Get Toddlers to Stop Eating Their Boogers

by Sara Ipatenco

Seeing your toddler dig around in her nose and then eat what she finds is nauseating. You're probably also frustrated because you've likely begged your child over and over again to stop picking her nose and eating it. Many toddlers go through this phase and, chances are, she'll outgrow it before she goes to elementary school. In the meantime, however, you can continue to encourage your toddler to quit it.

Keep your toddler's nose clean. Use a suction bulb, tissue or cotton swab to remove boogers and crust. When nothing's in your toddler's nose to pick out, she has nothing to eat.

Run a humidifier in your home or in your toddler's bedroom. If your toddler's nose itches, he might be picking it at to relieve the itching. A humidifier increases the moisture in the air, which can help with the dryness in his nose. A dry nose is often an itchy nose and helping with the dryness can reduce the boogers in his nose, which will also prevent him from eating as many.

Hand your child a tissue every time you see her put her finger in her nose and eat her boogers. Chances are, she'll get so frustrated with having to wipe her nose every time you catch her eating a booger, she'll turn to the tissues more often instead.

Ask your child to wash her hands when you catch her picking and eating her boogers. This, too, can be frustrating enough to encourage your toddler to use a tissue rather than consume her boogers.

Distract your toddler. Find something even more interesting for your toddler to focus on. Get out her favorite book and offer to read to her or ask her to color in a coloring book with you. Take her outside to throw a ball around or draw with sidewalk chalk as additional ways to distract her.

Items you will need
  • Suction bulb
  • Tissues
  • Cotton swabs
  • Humidifier

Warning

  • Pay attention to whether your child has allergies. Many toddlers pick their nose if they have allergy-like symptoms, and a common place for them to put those boogers is in their mouth. If you suspect that your child does have allergies, make an appointment with her pediatrician. Often, if the allergies are treated, the nose-picking and booger-eating will stop.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images