How do I teach my child to blow their nose?

One of the biggest troubles with common cold is cleaning the runny noses of small children. I had shared some of the methods I use, in my Fighting colds post. In my opinion, one of the most important developmental milestone for children is to learn to blow their noses. Despite our doctor’s prediction saying they would only learn that at around 3 years old, my son learned before the age of 2, and my daughter before she had turned 1. Now, I admit, this really isn’t a great accomplishment to be proud of to be honest, but just a bitter proof of how often our children got cold.

We worked on our nose blowing tricks a lot. Here are 5 methods that worked for us:

  1. Observation: My daughter most certainly learned how to blow her nose early on by observing her older brother. This is why, us blowing our noses in front of them is the most effective method.
  2. Confetti party: The game of breathing in and out quickly through your nose helped us a lot. You can use little confetti papers (ripped tissue paper!!) and make your kids blow them away by breathing out through their nose.
  3. Elephant game: Instead of saying, “blow out” we played “elephant game!!” by breathing out of our noses forcefully to make “elephant-like noise”.
  4. Get your own the tissue: Giving the tissue into the children’s hands instead of holding ourselves helped them gain independence.
  5. Don’t squeeze the nose: Holding the tissue in a way that it touches the top of the lip and leaves the tip of the nose exposed, rather than closing the nostrils.

There is also the trick of using nasal sprays. As you know, the easiest and fastest way to get rid of excess mucus is to use plenty of saline solution. It also prevents nasal fluid from getting into the ears and the sinuses becoming clogged. Like most of the other nasty stuff, I am in charge of  all the unpleasant duties for kids such as nose cleaning, nasal sprays, suppositories, or putting ointment on the eyes, etc. This is why I would be a medal winner, if there were a competition for the fastest nasal dropping mother of the wild west.

To be honest, whatever happens during, whether it drips or leaks or bubbles, I apply the spray. We have had enough of ear infection, that there is no other alternative but treat a runny nose early on to stop the fluid moving in to middle ear. The children have gotten used to it (again, unfortunately) and even though they aren’t overjoyed by the task, they don’t kick and scream anymore either.

  • My son prefers to use the spray himself. Perhaps having control relaxes him.
  • The most important factors for my daughter are quickness of hand and small pump tip. Usually one person holds her arms, while the other (me) finishes off cleaning and spraying within 5 seconds.

If you have practical methods, games or tricks you use(d) to teach your children blow their nose, please share them with us in the comments.


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