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Q&A:
How can I stop my 2-year-old from picking her nose?

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Question


How can I stop my 2-year-old from picking her nose?

Answer


Relax. This is one of those situations in which the best thing you can do is nothing.

Researchers have found that it's usually ineffective to try to get children to change problem habits such as nail-biting, nose-picking, and thumb-sucking until a child is at least 4 or 5 years old. In fact, trying to correct those habits—especially by doing things like smacking the child's hand—can make matters worse.

That's because these habits are not conscious and are often triggered by anxiety. If you punish the child for the behavior, it raises her anxiety level. This makes her more likely to pick her nose even more.

So right now you should simply ignore her when she picks her nose, unless she's doing it so much that she's getting infections. (If that's happening, talk to her pediatrician.) Odds are that she'll spend less time with her finger up her nose when she gets a year or two older.  
 
 
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