Let’s teach our children
how to blow their nose!
Did you know that blowing your nose avoids infections and colds?
Often, however, children really hate having their nose blown and run away as soon as they see a tissue!
Is your child able to blow their nose on their own, or are you also part of the group of parents who specialize in the “nose blowing run”?
In this article, you will find strategies for dealing with this difficult topic: teaching your child to blow their nose on their own!
Knowing how to blow your nose decreases the likelihood of developing colds and viruses, and does not allow mucus to accumulate in your child’s middle ear, compromising language development.
Stop running! Let’s see how to do it:
Before starting (1): the nose must be free!
Before teaching your child how to blow their nose, we need to make sure they don’t have a cold or stuffy nose at the time.
This is because, even if it is easy for us to know how to blow the air out of our nose, it is not really easy to learn, and lots practical exercises are needed (that cannot be done with a stuffy nose).
That’s why this article was written in the summer! Usually in summer, with the good weather, colds are rarer and noses are free. In fact, I recommend that you take advantage of the good weather to teach your child how to blow their nose and avoid so many colds in winter!
Before starting (2): the child must know how to blow with their mouth!
The following strategies are suitable for children who are already able to blow from the mouth.
Blowing, or letting the air out of the mouth or nose voluntarily, develops around the age of 2.
The ability to blow from the mouth develops earlier than the one from the nose, which allows us to use it as a comparison to teach the nose blow.
If your child is still unable to blow from the mouth, try strategies to develop this skill first, and later it will be possible to transform it into the nose blow.
Strategies for letting the air out of the nose
Many children know how to blow from their mouth from the earliest years of life, thanks to birthday cakes, bubbles, blowing on hot food.
But usually, when we try to clean our children’s noses and say “Blow” they blow with their mouths.
This is because they have not yet learned that they can control the air to get it out of the mouth or nose, so they are not able to channel the air into the nose voluntarily.
These activities are suitable for developing the concept of “air coming out of the nose”.
1 – Use a feather:
This first activity is very simple, you’ll just need a feather or a rectangular piece of tissue paper.
Hold a feather in front of your face (about 10 centimeters away) and first show your child how it moves if you blow with your mouth.
Take turns with your child in blowing to get the feather to move.
After a few turns, put your hand over your mouth and blow from your nose to make the feather move.
Give your child a try by helping him put their hand in front of their mouth.
As soon as the feather moves (even slightly) due to the air coming out of your child’s nose, let them notice it and praise them!
Now take turns making the feather move with the air coming out of the nose, with both nostrils and alternating the nostrils (closing one nostril with your finger), whoever makes it move more wildly wins!
2 – Snow in a box:
For this activity you need a shoe box, a piece of styrofoam, and a transparent fabric, such as a net (to prevent the styrofoam from coming out of the box and avoid inhalation).
Make the styrofoam into very small pieces, put them in the shoe box and close it with the fabric.
Then position yourself with your mouth resting on one side of the box, with the edge of the box between the upper lip and the nose (so that if you blow from the mouth nothing happens, but if you blow from the nose the air enters the box).
Show your child as if you blow hard from the nose all the bits of styrofoam fly into the box and look like snow.
Take turns with your child to see who can create the strongest “snow storm”.
3 – Blow out the candle
Warning: I advise parents to always be present and alert to the risks when using this strategy, because fire is used.
This activity takes place with a simple candle (I recommend the long ones) and a match / lighter.
Like the first two activities, at first I recommend that you take turns with your child to blow out the candle by blowing from your mouth.
After a few turns, put your hand on your mouth and show your child how to blow out the candle by blowing from your nose.
After this demonstration, help your child put their hand over their mouth and try to blow out the candle with their nose.
And now you can take turns blowing out the candle with both nostrils, or with one nostril at a time.
Put it into practice
These strategies have the function of introducing how to blow from their nose to your child, but after having acquired this concept it is still necessary to put it into practice in the actual nose blow.
To do this, I recommend that you first give your child a tissue and keep one for yourself.
The child will be more motivated to do it themselves, by copying what you do.
Tell your child to fill their lungs with air like balloons, as they did during the games illustrated above, to put the tissue over their nose, to close one nostril with one hand, to make sure their mouth is sealed, and to blow all the air out like in games.
Show your child how this is done, and ask them to copy what you did.
Every time they need to blow their nose, remind them how they made the feather and the snow move, or how they blew the candle out.
With practice and persistence, they will acquire this new skill, which will allow them to considerably decrease winter colds!
Here is how to teach your child how to blow his nose.
The activities are adaptable and you can create new ones using your imagination, using what your child likes to motivate them further.
If you have any questions or want to share with me how you taught your child to blow their nose, feel free to contact me here.
And don’t forget my Parent Training, in which there are various strategies on how to support your child’s language and development.