Nose Picking: When Your Toddler is a Booger Eater

Grinning ear-to-ear my toddler extended his finger to me revealing a glistening, gooey, fresh-picked booger. He then promptly shoved it in his mouth and ran away shrieking in amusement at my disgust. I’d love to say, “I have a boy. It’s normal,” but I’ve got bad news for parents of little girls. The more correct phrase would be, “I have a toddler. It’s normal.” Right up there with farting, spitting and poop painting, nose picking (and sometimes booger eating) ranks among the nastiest of toddler behaviors, even if it is normal.

Why do toddlers pick and then sometimes eat their boogers?

Nose picking is yet another result of the endless curiosity toddler’s exhibit. Some toddlers find their noses have holes accidentally and just start putting their fingers up there. Other toddlers discover things come out of noses when they have a cold or a stuffy nose from allergies and are intrigued by the gooey objects found. They continue doing it out of boredom mostly.nose picking
Some form a habit of it out of stress or nervousness, and others still do it because someone reacted in an interesting way when they did it the first time. Booger eating falls into this last category in most cases. Your toddler picks his/her nose, and that curiosity kicks in again asking, “Is that food?” and then your (or someone else’s) utterly and entirely disgusted reaction says, “Do it again! Do it again!” so your toddler does. This explains the gleeful shrieking victory run my toddler does after flaunting his new behavior.

What can you do to stop your toddler from nose picking and eating his/her boogers?

What not to do:

Just from the above explanation I’m sure the first “don’t do it” is clear, but don’t react if you can help it. Anytime your toddler picks or eats, just ignore it entirely. Pretend like you didn’t see a thing. Yes, this does mean don’t punish nose picking. Chances are your child doesn’t even know he/she is picking most of the time; it’s just a second nature of boredom. As a result, your toddler may not even realize why they’re in trouble and may decide this is a good boundary you’ve set to challenge on top of the any reaction is a good reaction mindset toddlers often have. Attempts to deter nose picking that are used in older children, such as putting stinky stuff like pickle juice on fingers or elastic band aids don’t generally work for toddlers either.

What to do:

I’m sure you’re wondering if you can’t punish or even acknowledge nose picking, what should you do?

First, you can attempt to keep your child’s hands busy. A toddler who isn’t bored isn’t going to pick his/her nose out of boredom. It’s even better if your toddlers hands are busy playing with blocks, painting, or any other activity that his heavy on hand usage.

Second, you can try to keep the booger content in your toddler’s nose down. A humidifier can be helpful as well as teaching your toddler to properly blow their nose. The later is especially appealing to toddlers because it’s a new skill and one that mom and dad do too.

Lastly, if your toddler is picking excessively and may be causing bleeding you should speak to your pediatrician. It could be your child has an allergy causing nasal aggravation or some other underlying issue. On the topic of health, you’ll also be glad to know booger eating poses no health risks, even if it is disgusting.

My Toddler Ate a Bug! What to Do About Toddler Insect Eating

Babies may have a reputation for exploring their world with their mouths, but toddlers seem to choose the most disgusting things to investigate. While some commonly ingested toddler choices are clearly gross, but obviously okay, such as paste and crayons dawning the non-toxic stamp, other choices leave you scratching your head and heading to the nearest search engine. One such item that ranks high on the questionably-consumed meter is bugs.toddler ate bug

Why do toddlers like bugs so much?

I’d love to offer you a scientifically-supported answer here, but a mom-supported theory is the best I can do. I’d wager the fascination most toddler-aged children acquire for bugs has to do with the fact that they meet several no-no requirements such as being small and dirty, and gain a that’s-not-a-toy, ew, or another generally negative reaction from mom or dad, all while moving in interesting ways. From the very first time my toddler spotted a house fly trapped in the window he fell in love with all that creeped and crawled. Next thing I knew he was hunting and then consuming any bug he could find.

Is it dangerous for my toddler to eat bugs?

About 1,400 species of bug are known to be edible, and in some countries, they are actually common dinner-plate additions. Insects are actually proven to be healthier than most meats nutritionally. However many bugs only become edible when cooked, and some simply haven’t been tested. On top of this, you have to consider the danger of your toddler catching the insect to eat it. My toddler has already been stung by hornets and wasps several times now attempting to catch a snack. In some areas, poisonous spiders are also a concern (I live in Alaska myself thankfully.) There is also the risk that an insect has been exposed to pesticides outdoors before ending up in your toddler’s hands, and many pesticides can be toxic.

What can I do to stop my toddler from eating bugs?

In the end, the threat of injury from trying to catch bug and the possibility of consuming a not-safe-to-eat insect gives parents a good reason to try to deter this gross childhood behavior. In many cases, nature will deter your child’s behavior for you. For example, my toddler no longer tries to catch flying bugs as he associates them with being stung. As a parent, I wouldn’t say this is the safest way to teach your child not to eat creepy crawlies, but it is one benefit when it does happen.

What you can do is work on prevention. If you see spiders, bees, ants etc. in the house move them outside. You can decrease bug activity in your home by keeping it clean, sealing doors, windows and other entrance points well and using organic pest control methods such as lemon or sticky traps (keep them up high). Outdoors a border of used coffee grounds will both fertilize your yard and act as a pest deterrent. Other than that you can’t do much but keep an eye out and keep telling your child that bugs are not for eating.

What if my toddler does eat a bug?

I wouldn’t say it’s a medical emergency if your toddler does manage to down an insect, but you should keep an eye out for signs of sickness. Chances are pretty low that the actual consumption will cause any health issue, but be sure to check for bites or stings on your child’s hands especially in the case of spiders.

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Preventing and Treating Wasp Stings


Wasp Sting and Bee Sting Treatment and Prevention for Kids

“Fly bug, mom! Fly bug!” My toddler, like many others of his age group, has always had a deep fascination for creepy crawlies. They are all bugs to him. Spider bugs, worm bugs, beetle bugs, and of course, fly bugs. The obvious problem is not all fly bugs are harmless. Before he was a year old, my son had already been stung three times, and things didn’t look good for a decrease in his toddler years. Bee sting allergies run in my family, so I worried he might get stung in the face or throat someday and end up with more than a boo-boo.

How can you can prevent kid wasp stings, hornet stings and bee stings?

Teach. The nice thing about bees, wasps, and hornets is they have a very distinctive appearance. Reading books about stinging bugs and doing art projects can help younger kids separate them from other bugs while learning to respect our environment. Then you can teach them that the stripped “fly bugs” are dangerous and should be left alone.wasp sting treatment

Bee proof. Next, your child’s primary play spaces should be bee-proofed, so to speak. Be sure to check your yard and house eaves regularly for the beginnings of hives. Keep trash receptacles tightly sealed, plant flowers away from your toddler’s play areas, and keep compost piles in other areas of the yard as well.

For indoor play, window and door screens can help tremendously. You may also consider setting traps. Simply take a plastic bottle, fill it about half way with a sweet liquid such as soda or beer, and set it on your windowsill or front porch. If you prefer you can also buy pre-made traps. Hornets and yellow jackets are attracted to the trap rather than the enticing smells in your home. This can also cut down on houseflies.

Dress safely. When your kiddo is going to be outside, avoid dressing them like a flower. No seriously, skip fragranced lotions, sun blocks, or shampoos and avoid bright colors such as yellow and red. Bees, wasps, and hornets are generally just out looking for food, if your child looks and smells like food, they’re more prone to be attractive to stinging bugs.

Snack safely. When outside, keep your child free of sweet stuffs. Pocket wet wipes are awesome in this department. Make sure that any drinks are capped. Fruit juice is particularly attractive to many types of stinging bugs.

What does wasp sting, hornet sting, or bee sting treatment entail?

No matter how many preventive measures you take, eventually your child will likely get stung anyway. Home sting remedies are bountiful and mostly wives tales. However, sadly, little actual scientific research has been done on the subject. What is known is you want to immediately remove the stinger if still present in the skin. How isn’t important, though many parents swear by flicking it out with a credit card.

Suggestions to ease pain after the stinger is removed include tobacco, baking soda, pennies, aspirin, meat tenderizer, onions, vinegar, Benadryl , honey, toothpaste, calamine lotion, papaya, hydrocortisone cream and ice. One study did find an aspirin paste to be ineffective and even extended the redness period. This same study found ice to be effective. Pennies for wasp and bee stings appears to be an illogical wives tale. One helpful man tried all of the suggested methods. He found toothpaste or calamine lotion applied to the sting after icing it worked best. Baking soda, meat tenderizer, papaya, hydrocortisone cream and vinegar were also effective. Honey was so-so. Benadryl , tobacco, and onion were the least effective.

No matter how your treat it keep an eye out for allergic reactions such as excessive swelling in areas not near the sting, hives, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, rapid pulse and dizziness. If you suspect an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.