How to Teach Your Kid to Blow Their Nose

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There are so many little life skills that we, as adults, have managed to master over the years. How to put on a jacket. How to tie our shoes. How to blow a bubble with our gum and snap our fingers. (Okay, those last two might not really be “life skills,” but they’re important, nonetheless.) And yet, they’re kind of hard to teach.

“Let’s see, to whistle, you just kind of purse your lips like this and, I don’t know, sort of blow air through the opening… no, more slowly than that… purse your lips a little more, maybe… eh, you’ll figure it out at some point,” we say.

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One such life skill we can’t wait around for them to figure out on their own, though, is how to blow their noses. Because snotty noses are gross and we are not interested in wiping them forever.

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This tip comes from Today’s Parent and was part of a 30-part slideshow full of back-to-school hacks. But really, this one is an all-year-round hack: Teach them with a cotton ball.

1. Familiarize her with the idea of blowing air out of her nose by getting her to move a cotton ball with only nose air (keeping her mouth closed).

2. Now she’s ready to try with a tissue. Have her gently press one nostril closed while she blows with the other, then switch sides.

3. Have her dispose of her tissue once she’s done and wash her hands to prevent the spread of germs.

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If you don’t have cotton balls handy, you could also try putting a clean tissue on a table and have them practice blowing out of their nose to move the tissue. Hell, make a game out of it by racing to see who can blow the tissue across the table the fastest.

Once they’re proficient at that, you can get back to teaching them how to whistle.

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