How to help your child stop nose picking

how to help your child stop nose picking Father and son (3-5) nose to nose, side view, high sectionDoes your kid pick their nose? Depending on your tolerance (or as a service to the public), you might need to stage an intervention. This is one of those things that will solve itself by the time your kid is about 8 (’cause all their friends will finally think it’s gross), but if you can’t wait that long (*shudder* and who can?), how do you help your child to stop picking their nose?

This was not my original idea. I first saw it when I was a teenager and I recall making a mental note to remember it if I ever had kids. 

It’s that good.

Kids generally stick their finger up their nose as a toddler when they first discover that their adorable little fingers are a perfect fit. But it’s not until about preschool that they find out that sometimes, they get something out of their nose. Boom. Once the nose-picking is rewarded by a little nasal gift, it is reinforced and it’s hard to stop. (<–eww!)

Enter the brilliant parent who showed me this trick. Upon meeting him and his 4 year-old daughter, I noticed that the tip of her index finger was wrapped with tape. Curious, I asked about the owie. The dad stated matter-of-factly that she had a little bit of a problem with keeping her finger out of her nose and the tape was just a reminder for her. (Also with tape on it, HER FINGER WOULD NOT FIT UP HER NOSE.)

Did you catch that? The only thing you need to do to get your child to stop picking their nose is to make their finger not be able to fit in the nostril. 

What? Is it that simple?


Brill.i.ant. Problem solved.

Even if when your child learns to blow their nose (there are some great tips here), they may still be nose-pickers. So until social censure helps them quit picking their nose, this is my booger-free gift to you.

Here are some tips on how to get your child to stop picking their nose, based on my experience with an avid nose picker:

    1. Explain to your child that boogers transfer germs. And their finger transfers germs into their nose when they stick it in their nostril. (<–This is in case you have a kid who isn’t satisfied with the ‘It’s really gross’ or ‘It’s not polite’ reasons for why we don’t pick our nose.)

    2. Tell your child that you can help them remember not to pick their nose. Then, explain the tape/band-aid process.

    3. It might help them be more enthusiastic if they get to pick the tape/band-aid. My child kinda freaked about this at first, so tread lightly. Any kind of tape will do; I’ve used clear tape, masking tape, washi tape and band-aids.

    4. Plan to have to replace the tape/band-aid throughout the day. Tape works better than band-aids for stickiness, but band-aids can be more fun for your kid because they’re cool. And it makes the offending finger look like an owie to other people, not a nasal intervention.

    5. It doesn’t matter which direction you wrap the tip of the finger (over the top or around it). Either way works to make the finger not fit.

    6. Yes, just tape all their digging fingers of choice at the same time. Kids are creative. 🙂

Help your child learn to blow their nose and keep tissues handy for them. I admit that I overreacted to each nose picking incident a bit dramatically. Thankfully, these tips solved the picking problem in a matter of a few weeks. And my sanity. 

I hope this gives you a quick, practical tool to help you get your kid to quit picking their nose and improve your daily relationship around this issue with your child!

(Questions? Thoughts? Tips to share? Jump on over to the Facebook group and join the conversation there! Search the page for this blog post title and let’s chat!)

Now, everyone go wash your hands…


Click here to join the conversation on Facebook!

Sharing is caring:


You might also enjoy...

Never Miss
a thing!

Join the Hope in 5 (ish) newsletter

- a weekly newsletter that makes us all better humans.

Humaning is hard--but with a little bit of info, tips and insight, it gets a tiny bit better!