Kicking the Bad Habits: Nose Picking

If your child is about to start preschool or daycare, it’s time to start breaking some of their bad habits. In this series, we will cover some tactics that will help you kick those bad habits to the curb. Today’s bad habit is nose picking. 

If you’ve ever noticed your child digging for gold anywhere in public, you’re probably familiar with that immediate feeling of embarrassment that washes over you. As gross as it seems, nose picking is a normal behavior for young children, but a bad habit that should be broken at an early age. Here are some ways that you can prevent your kid from picking:

Increase Awareness

Oftentimes kids don’t even realize they’re picking their nose, especially when they are focused on something else like watching TV. Make sure you tell your child, in a gentle, non-shaming way, that you’ve noticed her picking her nose. You can even designate a secret word or signal to bring to her attention that she is engaging in the bad habit. This is especially useful in helping your child recognize the behavior when they are out in public.


You should help your child want to stop picking his nose on his own. You can do this by talking about all of the drawbacks that come with this bad habit, such as spreading germs and getting toys dirty.

Keep Them Occupied

Try to identify the times when your child is most likely to pick her nose and keep her fingers busy with something else during these times. Squeeze balls and finger puppets are good ways to keep your child’s fingers occupied. You could even encourage her to do something else instead of nose picking, like clenching her fists or squeezing the arm of her chair.

Stock Up

  • On Water. Make sure your child is well hydrated because drinking a lot of water is one way to keep nasal passages from getting dry and itchy. If your child is hydrated and his nose is comfortable, he will be less likely to pick.
  • On Tissues. Keeping tissues handy will make it easier for you to teach your child that tissues are the right way to get rid of boogers. Encourage the use of tissues as much as possible, and use them as a gentle reminder when you catch your child digging.
  • On Band-Aids. If your child still isn’t getting the idea, you can wrap their nose-picking finger with a Band-Aid. This will help them remember not to pick every time they try to stick their finger in their nose.

At Cranium Academy, our goal is to build character and leadership in every student. To provide consistency between school and home life, we work hand-in-hand with parents to help children break their bad habits. If you’re working on kicking the nose picking habit, let your child’s teacher know so that we can help you with the process. One less bad habit is one step closer to building good character and being a leader!

More in this series: Thumb Sucking, Hair Pulling, Nail Biting/Picking