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A 49-year-old female asked:

How do you get a 3 year old child to quit eating boogers... we have tried humilation, time out, took toys away....

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 21 years experience
Booger : Booger eating is a gross, yet common habit among preschoolers. One of the more effective ways to stop this habit is redirection. Often, kids will pick their noses because they are bored or their hands are idle. If you see him going for his nose, redirect him by giving him a book or a toy - something to occupy his hands. It can also be helpful to explain that nose picking spreads germs and can make people sick. Another helpful tactic is to always have tissues with you and when he reaches for his nose, hand him a tissue giving him a more socially acceptable alternative. If he complains that his nose is itchy (possibly from dry air) you can run a cool mist humidifier in his room overnight and occasionally dab petroleum jelly or saline drops in his nose to keep his mucus membranes from drying out and itching. Good luck!
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Ignore it: Understand the kid.Anything you reward them with increased attention for may be enough to assure they do it and not consider stopping.This is an age where parenting is a struggle and you need to pick your battles wisely. Remember that most at this age need your attention at least once every 5 minutes.Don't get too busy or this stuff emerges to engage you.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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