How to Teach Your Kid to Blow Their Nose

Get tips for tapping into your toddler's bubble-blowing skills to teach them how to blow their nose into a tissue, plus what age experts say you can get started.

Don't wait until your child gets a cold to help them master blowing their nose; kids as young as 2 can learn how. Thanks to all that practice blowing bubble wands and birthday candles, your child is probably already pretty good at blowing air out of their mouth. With very little effort, you can help your child make the leap to blowing air through their nostrils and, hopefully, keep the boogies in tissues instead of on a sleeve.

Read on for fun tips to teach your child how to blow their nose in a tissue.

Nose Blowing Games

Kids love to learn through play and when it comes to teaching them basic hygiene, doing it through play is a smart way for those lessons to stick. Don't worry if it takes a few tries to get the motions right—and many reminders to use a tissue when their nose starts running! Your child will eventually make it a habit to use a tissue correctly, every time.

Finger Over Lips

To practice, gently place a finger over your child's lips to show them that they can make air come out of their nose, says Katherine O'Connor, M.D., a parent of three and a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City. Conversely, gently pinch your child's nose so they can feel the air going through their mouth. Explain that to get the boogies out of their nose, they need to close their mouth and open their nose to blow air through and into a tissue to catch what comes out.

Underwater

You can teach your child to blow bubbles through their nose underwater during a bath and then have them apply the same technique when their nose feels stuffed up. Make it fun by pretending to be a sea creature or an underwater volcano.

Tip: Prevent Chapped Nose Skin

Blowing a chapped nose can be painful for anyone, especially kids. If your child has a runny nose, prevent their skin from drying out by applying a dab of petroleum jelly. Repeat as necessary.

Cotton Ball Races

Have your child move a cotton ball, a feather, or a little ball of tissue paper across a flat surface as fast as possible—using only their nose! (Just be prepared for sprays of snot, and wipe down the surface afterward.)

Dancing Tissue

How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it! Hand your child a tissue and practice blowing air through their nose to make the tissue dance. Add some fun by playing silly music and blowing into the tissue to the song's beat.

child sitting in bed blowing his nose
Stephanie Rausser

Using a Tissue Properly

When it's time for tissues, place one over your child's nose and press down on their left nostril while they blow out of their right. Repeat with the other nostril, then let your child do it. It's always helpful to demonstrate it yourself.

"Young kids love to imitate, so they are more likely to try to use tissues on their own if they see you using them first," says Rebecca G. Carter, M.D., a parent of two and a pediatrician at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital, in Baltimore. You can also show your child how to use a tissue properly by pretending during playtime.

Disposing Tissues Properly

To ensure that germy tissues are disposed of properly, take advantage of your kid's eagerness to be helpful by giving them the "garbage collector" job for a few minutes daily. "Even if he misses the pail when he tosses a wrapper or a used napkin, it'll show him that he can help you in small ways around the house," says Dr. Carter, who successfully used this strategy with both her kids. When your child does get sick, throwing out their used tissues will be a natural extension of what they already know how to do.

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