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Nose-picking and more

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  • Nose-picking and more

    Hi All,
    I am new here and am writing because I feel like I need some support and/or advice from experienced Attachment parents, so thank you in advance.

    My family has recently been through a major transition (foreclosure, move away from friends & family, etc). My 5 year old daughter (who has always been a nose picker & thumb sucker) has started

    1) picking her nose and eating it, not exactly chronically, but often
    2) has begun licking her hands to wash her face (I'm pretty sure she saw the cat doing it)

    I have not said anything to her about it, and up until this morning, didn't even really think it was a "problem" that warranted concern. I've always let her move through her phases without making a big deal out of them. In this case, I am also aware that she has been under stress from the move and am wondering if this behavior is a symptom of something underlying I should be dealing with.

    But I'm noticing these behaviors increasing in frequency and am wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and if so, what, if anything I should be doing.

    Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    My picks his nose and hands it to me to wipe off. He just started doing it. I have explained that he should pick his nose in the bathroom if he really feels the need and use tissue then wash his hands.
    I will advance him to a neti pot later to help loosen things as he gets old enough to understand.

    I would let her know that eating her boogers is not healthy and they are full of germs. Tell her the science behind it. Draw pictures of germs and say they are very tiny and live inside boogers. That boogers are the way the body gets rid of germs and we should put them in a tissue where they belong. It is what I have told my kids and they have all understood that.

    Licking hands and washing face. I have never seen it but from a mommy point that is sooo cute and very America's funniest home video moment.

    But again from a health stance, especially during cold and flu season, explain the things that her hands come into contact with during the day and how there are germs on everything and that soap and water are better for her hands. That cats and other species don't come into contact with the same stuff she does.

    To draw her attention away from it, get some nice cotton gloves or even bath mitts, but cotton gloves work better for little hands. The ones you get for dress up. Have her wear those during bath or washing up so she can play kitten while she washes. Get a few pairs so you can wash between uses. Another thing I did with my girls that they loved and also kept the bars of soap from slipping out of their little hands. I know there is a lot of pump foam soaps now, but most of those were pretty toxic when my girls were little.

    Peace & Blessings,



    • #3
      My son has done both the eating and the "hand washing" and hasn't come to any harm but generally told its gross.

      There's that urban myth floating around about how eating snot enhances your immune system - well my boy was healthy as an ox and didn't get the coughs and colds that plagued his sister and other kids.

      As for the hand washing, just gently remind her she's a person and not a cat and that we use soap and water. Hopefully she'll stop of her own accord but when my boy (who is 11) picks up new "quirks" I joke with him about "socially acceptable behaviour" which hopefully gets across to him that I understand what he's doing but that he needs to stop. Anything truly harmful isn't a quirk and is dealt with promptly.


      • #4
        I agree. Nose picking is gross, but probably not going to make them sick. Both our big kids do it. Both are as healthy as anything. The biggest influence over this kind of thing is their peers. Every now and again I mention that I wouldn't want to be remembered forever for being the nose-picking kid. That usually stops it for a day or two.
        Dunno about the licking problem, that's a new one for me.
        Good luck and also Kia Ora (hee hee a kiwi in disguise)

        Last edited by kloppenmum; 12-17-2010, 04:54 PM.


        • #5
          hi, I might be too late to say anything productive and I hope things are settling down for you guys.
          I think you said it right when you mentioned the stress you and your family has been dealing with; I think she might be anxious and this is why she has been picking and licking
          This behaviour is common for kids that are anxious or trying to de-stress; sometimes their stress manifests as little compulsions (I, for example, twirl my hair or a pencil when I am nervous)
          I think what might help, is distraction her when she does it and spending reassuring time together; ask her how she's doing, too. I love the little Kimochi dolls, eso when kids have a hard time expressing their emotions (the little ones rely mostly on behaviour to get their point across)
          I also like the idea of the glove in the shower
          Good luck!