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Even though it's horrifying to see your child digging in her nose -- especially in public places -- remember that kids this age have no idea that nose picking is a nasty habit. For some kids, nose picking is simply a fun way to explore their bodies. For others, it's a way of dealing with cold or allergy symptoms. If your child always seems to have a crusty nose, talk to your pediatrician to see if she may have allergies. The next time you see your child reach for her nose, explain that it's better to clean her nose with a tissue. Teach her to ask for one, and praise her when she does. You can also boost cooperation by giving your child her own supply of tissues to carry in her pocket or backpack (look for ones with fun prints or characters she'll recognize). --Susanna Schrobsdorff
Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission from the 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.