5 Practical Ways to help Nose Pickers

5 practical ways to help nose pickers - for the parent who tried everything!I never imagined I would be writing this post, but I blog about life, and this is life my friends.  I have two little boys and they are constantly picking their noses.  Not only is it just a gross habit, but it’s mildly embarrassing when people come up to talk to your children and they are digging for gold (so to speak).  We have tried redirecting, gentle reminders, etc. without luck. I scoured the web for tips and tricks to get them to stop but no advice I found was truly practical.

Statements like:

  • “Kids usually pick their nose because it has something in it that doesn’t feel right.” (source)  (Do people really need that explained to them?)
  • ” just keep her hands busy” (source) (Clearly, she has already found a way to keep her hands busy.)
  • “Hand them a tissue” (source) (Now they have a place to put the booger, but it does nothing to stop the actual nose picking.)
  • “show her how to rub her fingertip around her nose rather than pick it.” (source) (I just have no words for this one.)

Being the researcher I am, I wanted to get to the bottom of this issue and I wanted some practical ways to make the picking stop.  I found one study performed on 200 adolescents that revealed most adolescents admit to still picking their noses (an average of 4 times a day!).  Oh you guys, I want so much more for my children than this and I know you do too! We have got to take action now.

Since I couldn’t find anything truly useful online, I decided to do some research and compile a list that will truly help! My husband and I have already noticed a huge reduction in this bad habit since we started implementing these ideas.

3442706195_0b8eae732d_bPhoto Credit: Renzo Apostoli via Compfight cc

5 Practical Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Picking Their Nose

Stop Clipping Their Fingernails – This is such a logical way to deal with the problem.  If you stop clipping their fingernails, eventually they are not going to enjoy getting poked in their nasal passages, or their nails will grow so long they will start to curl and the finger will no loner fit in the nose.

Visual Reminders- So many of our children are visual learners and really benefit from visual cues.  We purchased these stickers and placed them all over the house to remind our children not to pick.boogers When we are out in public, I put a sticker on each of their hands and on my shirt.  Then if they start to pick I just have to point to the sticker.  I don’t even have to say anything.  It’s great!  I think it’s also a good reminder to everyone in public places that boogers are gross.  I’ve had several adults tell me they appreciated the reminder, although I do get a couple of strange looks every time we go out. Those people must not have young children.
Other great visuals you can put around the house:Nose-Electrical-Plugs

Nose outlet protectors.  Whenever your child looks around the house and sees one of these, they will be reminded that they are not allowed to touch their nose, just as they are not allowed to touch an electric outlet.


A nose ring – literally!  Putting this on your child’s finger would be a constant reminder to not touch his nose.  Plus, it would poke him in the face if his finger did make it in the nose-wardly direction.  You can get one here.

Physical barriers- Sometimes our children need a physical barricade to help them break the habit.  Below are some excellent resources for physical barriers that will truly help train your child to keep the finger away from the nose.

nose coneOk, I admit, the head cone is taking it too far.  The hand cones are definitely sufficient to keep your child from picking his nose.


Nasal screens – originally designed to filter the air you breathe, these are great barriers to nose picking!

nose glasses

We found these at the dollar store and couldn’t believe how effective they were.  If your child already wears glasses, just detach the nose from the fake glasses and use a little bit of super glue to attach the nose to the real glasses.

boxing gloves

If you have a compulsive picker who just won’t stop, you may want to invest in a pair of these.  These are the best way, hands down, to stop any picking (no pun intended!). They may be cumbersome when going out in public, but the plus side is, your child won’t be touching everything on the shelves at the grocery store.

Make Them Eat the Boogers-  I know this sounds like horrible parenting advice at first, but just hear me out.  A logical consequence of picking your nose is getting a booger stuck on your finger.  Right? Most kids will just rub it off on the nearest wall, couch cushion, article of clothing, etc.  This is unacceptable.

Instead, simply tell your children that if they insist on picking their nose, then they will have to eat whatever comes out. Before you call child protective services on me, know that I would never have my children consume something that wasn’t good for their bodies.  That’s just not commensurate with our real food lifestyle. While gross, boogers are perfectly safe to eat.

One scientist has this to say about consuming boogers: “By consuming those pathogens caught within the mucus, could that be a way to teach your immune system about what it’s surrounded with?” (From the article Picking Your Nose and Eating it May be Good For You.)

Another set of researchers discovered that a component found in our boogers is actually so antibacterial it would be a highly effective cleansing agent for medical devices. (source) So who knows, maybe you are actually doing them a favor by having them eat their boogers!

Blow a Whistle and Give A Little Slapwhistle

This is a simple psychological technique discovered by Pavlov. It’s called classical conditioning.  If you blow a whistle and then slap your child’s hand away every time their finger goes up their nose, then eventually you will condition them to remove their hand every time they just hear the whistle.  The bonus is that any time they are at a sports game, they will be reminded not to pick their nose for the whole event and you won’t even have to attend.  But please don’t take this too far and use a bull horn – that would just be abuse. You can get the perfect conditioning whistle here.

But Don’t Take My Word For It

These are some of the things that worked for our family.  I am happy to say that my children no longer pick their noses.  But it wasn’t easy – it took a lot of perseverance.  Also, some of these ideas may not work for your family.  That’s OK.  I asked around in my blogging network and here are some more excellent ideas from other bloggers I know and trust.

  • “The best way to get your kids to stop picking their nose is to let them pick each others noses, or even your own. Not only are you teaching them to share, you’re also helping them build up their immune system.” Whitney from Beauty in the Mess
  • “Encourage STEM curriculum by using the robotic booger picking technique- have your kids build it themselves and feature it in local science fairs.” Lee from Well Fed Family
  • “We encouraged nose-picking at first for its various health benefits, but it became problematic when the kids were picking their noses during swim lessons. The instructors didn’t want the pool to become contaminated, so we began using swimming nose plugs. It was so effective that we took the nose plugs out of the pool. After 9 days of 24 hour nose plugs, we were nose-picking free!” Virginia from Virginia George
  • “Let them read quality books about nose picking. Try to find living books; those with examples and real-life stories of nose-pickers. One of our favorites, The Story of Bradley Booger.” Daniel from More Than Four Walls
  • “We tried everything for two long years with our chronic nose picker. We finally got desperate, and though we hated using GMO’s, we found taping bugle chips to his fingers was the most effective. Two weeks and the habit was broken. Eating them was not an issue as we had more successfully taught him about real food then we had been in teaching him to not pick his nose.” Debra from Worth Cooking
  • Nose picking has always been a huge issue over here. While my daughter had a deep understanding of the hygiene issues and germ issues associated with nose picking, she simply just loved the sensation of something being up her nose. I gave it some thought and realized that there was a simple solution. She has a strong bond with our house rabbit so I knew she would be game for an experimental run with my idea. I took two nostril size rabbit poops and stuck one up each of my daughter’s nostril – just far enough to plug the opening like a finger would! It was perfect! My daughter got to bond with our bunny in a new way and it kept her unsanitary finger out of her nose.” Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama

One More Thing

I hope this article was helpful for you and more practical than most of the other nose-picking articles you will find out there on the World Wide Web.    Also,


Please do not take any of this advice.  It’s all really horrible advice.  If you have a nose picker, then that just means you are a parent.

Happy April Fool’s Day. :)

Homemade, Real-Food Ranch Dressing

Homemade, real-food ranch dressing. Better than the stuff from the store!Homemade, Real-Food Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing.  It’s tangy, it’s tasty, it’s downright delicious (unless you are my husband – then you think it’s gross).  Until recently, my kids had never tasted ranch dressing.  I knew that had to change, but I just wasn’t wild about this:

Soybean Oil, Water, Egg Yolk, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavors (Soy), Spices. Less than 1% of Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate. (source)

Soybean oil? Modified Food Starch?  MSG?  And sugar as the fourth ingredient?That’s just the beginning of my issues with store-bought ranch dressings.  You can read more about why we avoid store-bought dressings here.

I wanted to give my kids a real ranch experience.  I wanted a dressing that tasted addictingly-delicious without the actual excitotoxins.  I wanted flavor! So I went to the drawing board and came up with this recipe.

I don’t want to brag…but it’s AMAZING!  I think I should just retire from blogging now.

Not only does this taste better than the store-bought stuff, but it’s full of probiotics and healthy fats. It’s nutrient-dense and something you can feel good about slathering on your kids’ vegetables and your salad. It’s not the simplest of recipes, but I promise it is worth it.  

Homemade, real-food ranch dressing. Better than the stuff from the store!

Please Note:

  •  It’s important you make your own mayonnaise for this recipe.  If you use store-bought mayo, then you will just be adding in a lot of those ingredients that we are trying to avoid.  I promise it is so easy to make your own mayo.  I use this recipe that uses coconut oil and olive oil as the base.
  • The honey is optional.  The store-bought versions contain a lot of sugar, so if you are weaning your family off the store-bought kind, you may want to add a little honey until their taste buds adjust to not needing so much sugar.
  • The only kind of salt that we use is Real Salt.  You can read why here.  If you are using white table salt for your recipe, you will probably want to start with 1/4 tsp and go from there based on taste.
  • This recipe seems kind of liquidy at first and if you taste it right away it won’t wow you.  You have to let the flavors meld together in the refrigerator for several hours, or even better, over-night.  It thickens up and the flavor becomes more intense.
  • For a dip, try doing 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream (leaving out the buttermilk) with the same seasonings.  Add the apple cider vinegar a teaspoon at a time until you have the thickness/tanginess that you prefer.
Homemade, Real-Food, Ranch Dressing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Just like the store-bought stuff, but even better. This homemade, real-food ranch dressing is something you will feel good about feeding your family.
Serves: 1 cup
  • ⅓ cup homemade mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (or milk with a dash of vinegar set aside for a couple of minutes)
  • 1-2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ¾ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • (optional) ¼ - 1 tsp raw honey
  1. If using buttermilk, then add 1 TB of apple cider vinegar to the milk and set aside for a couple minutes. If using regular milk with a dash of vinegar, then add 2 TB of apple cider vinegar and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender or in a bowl with an immersion blender. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Do you love ranch dressing?  What is your favorite way to eat it?

Don’t forget to check out the other homemade salad dressings in this series:

4 Signs Your Preschooler is Ready to Write

4 signs your preschooler is ready to writeI don’t blog about it very often, but I actually have a double undergraduate degree in special education (cross-categorical) and elementary education and a Master’s degree in teaching reading. I’ve taught in a variety of settings in both the public and private sectors. However, now that my firstborn, who yesterday looked like this


Photo Credit: White Dove Photography

And today looks like this,

october 2010 014is almost ready to start school, I am about to venture into a whole new world of education – homeschooling.

I LOVE teaching.  It is so rewarding to watch a child learn something and then be able to apply it independently.  It’s amazing actually. And I can’t wait to experience this with my own kiddos.

One of the benefits of having a background in special education is I really had to learn how to take each concept that a student must know and break it down into the smallest parts.  For example: If a student is struggling with handwriting, I have to dissect the many different abilities that go into being able to write to determine where the student is struggling.  It could be anything from fine motor control skills to poor eye sight. I once had a fourth grade student who had horrendous hand writing.  His parents finally took him to the eye doctor (he had been failing his school eye exams) and they discovered he was legally blind.  No wonder he had a hard time writing!

I’m a big proponent of waiting until a child is developmentally ready before introducing a skill.  So many times we set our children up for failure by expecting too much from them too soon.  Every kid is different and that’s OK.

16554589805_e0d89600a2_bPhoto Credit: frankieleon via Compfight cc

4 Signs Your Preschooler is Ready to Start Writing

So how can we tell when our little ones are ready to start writing?  Here are 4 skills that they need to master first:

1. The letters of the alphabet have meaning to them.  Imagine sitting down and having to write something in Chinese characters.  You are given something to copy.  You look at it and it looks completely foreign to you, but you draw out the formations anyways even though you have no idea what you are writing.  In reality, you are not writing in Chinese characters, you are drawing in Chinese characters.

If a child is taught to write the letter A, but has no prior knowledge about what A is or why A is important, then he or she will just be copying meaningless shapes onto a page.  We want the work our children do to have meaning, and so we must wait until they know WHAT they are writing, before we teach them HOW to write it.

2. They can use small movements with just their fingers to complete fine motor tasks.  When you really think about it, writing is made up of small movements that come more from our fingers than our hand.  If a child is still using his whole hand to complete tasks, and hasn’t mastered the art of using his fingers, he is not ready for handwriting. Can your child remove a sticker from a sticker sheet?  Can she use her fingers to screw a nut onto a bolt? Is he able to color and stay within the lines?  These are all good indicators that your child has mastered the art of using fine motor movements in the fingers.  For a great list of activities and resources that can help your child develop these skills, check out: 21 Ways to Prepare Your Preschooler for Handwriting Success.

3. They can draw straight lines and curves.  Quite simply, the letters of our alphabet are all made up of either straight lines or curved lines.  If a student can’t draw a straight line or a curved line, then they do not have the skills needed to start writing.  A great resource for practicing drawing lines and shapes are the Kumon early learning books.  These books have fun activities like mazes and drawing pictures, that require the students to learn how to draw lines and curves.

4. They can cross their midline.  Pretend there is an imaginary line that vertically separates your child into two symmetrical halves: the left side and the right side.  The ability to cross the midline is when a child can take their dominant hand and easily cross over into the other half of their body. If a child is right-handed, then they are able to cross the midline when their right hand easily and effortlessly crosses over the middle of the body into the left side.  You can see in this picture my son is crossing his midline.

crossing the midline

I can’t tell you how many students I have had that struggle with crossing the midline.  This makes handwriting very hard because the student either has to switch hands every time he gets to the middle of the page, or he has to move his paper to continually keep it on one side of his body. Not being able to cross the midline can also affect reading and gross motor movements.

Crossing the midline requires the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain to work together in coordination.  There are lots of activities and exercises you can do to help your child if he or she struggles with crossing the midline.  Check out the ideas here, here, or here.

Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Write?  Try This Great Resource!

Clearly this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start in evaluating if your child is ready to start writing.  If your child is showing all the signs of readiness, congratulations!  Have fun!  If you are looking for a great, faith-filled resource to guide your handwriting instruction, then I wholeheartedly recommend Write Through The Bible Jr.

This program takes handwriting instruction and adds a Biblical component.  It’s full of fun activities for each day that help your child connect meaning to the letters that they are writing and reinforces the Biblical principle of the week.  My four-year-old begs me everyday to do more writing in his “art book” as he calls it.

The book is available in KJV or ESV Bible translations, ball and stick manuscript, D’nealian manuscript, or cursive fonts, and in digital ($17) or softcover ($27) formats.  Not bad for a whole years worth of handwriting curriculum! We have the ESV, softcover version in D’nealian manuscript.

write through the bible junior


If you are interested, you can download a sample copy of the first weeks lessons here.

Is your child showing all of the signs of writing readiness?  How do you integrate the Bible with writing?




Super Simple, Real-Food Honey Mustard Dressing

real-food honey mustard dressing

Last week I wrote about why our family stopped buying store-bought dressings. I recommend reading that post if you are an avid salad eater.  Once we stopped buying dressings, I knew I had to come up with some pretty great real-food salad dressing recipes because a) salad is gross without salad dressing and b) my kids and husband love to have a dipping sauce for different veggies/chicken fingers/whatever else may require dipping.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is so simple it’s almost embarrassing.  It’s a family favorite and is one of the only ways my two-year-old will eat his veggies.  It’s nutrient-dense, tasty, and incredibly adaptable. It’s a real-food honey mustard dressing.

Real-Food Honey Mustard Dressing

A quick note about the ingredients:

  • Honey – for the healthiest dressing you will want to use raw honey.  Raw honey is full of beneficial enzymes.  A lot of the honey that you buy at the store is pasteurized and may be adulterated with corn syrup (source). I get our honey through a local co-op, but if that’s not an option, I have seen raw honey sold in the stores, and you can get raw honey on Amazon.
  • Mustard – we use yellow mustard, but feel free to experiment.  Dijon mustard adds quite a kick and is easy to adjust to your family’s preferences.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – for the most health benefits, you will want to use unpasteurized, unfiltered vinegar with “the mother”.  As you can see from the picture above, that’s not the kind I used – we ran out of the good stuff.  I’m not sweating it though because I know that my dressing is still going to be light-years more nutritious than a store-bought alternative, even with my pasteurized apple cider vinegar. This is a good brand.
  • Additions:  Feel free to add some home-made mayo to this sauce for a more creamy texture.  Or if you are feeling wild, add a little bit of curry.  I know that sounds strange, but honey mustard curry is the only way one of my kids will eat his broccoli.

real-food honey mustard dressing

Honey Mustard Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Sweet and tangy, this dressing will have your family begging for more veggies!
  • 5 parts raw honey
  • 4 parts mustard
  • 2 to 3 parts apple cider vinegar
  1. Mix the ingredients together until combined.

Does your family like honey mustard sauce?

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series:

Why Our Family Stopped Buying Store-Bought Salad Dressings

Why our family stopped buying store-bought salad dressings.Photo Credit: Ralan808 via Compfight cc

I was never a salad person until I had the regular house salad at a local steak house about 5 years ago.

Ya’ll – it was dark green lettuce loaded with fresh-cut tomatoes, thinly sliced carrots and onions, chopped up hard-boiled egg, thick shreds of sharp cheddar cheese and the kicker – the very best blue cheese dressing I have ever tasted in my entire life.

Why our family stopped buying store-bought salad dressings.Photo Credit: KJM·427 via Compfight cc

 The dressing MADE the salad.  We have gone back to that steak house many times since, and in my times of being gluten and dairy free I had to forgo all the salad dressings for merely oil and vinegar.  That’s when I realized what a HUGE difference the dressing made.  I didn’t enjoy the salad nearly as much (does anyone enjoy house salads without dressing?).

Then I learned about genetically modified ingredients and food additives/preservatives and it ruined salad dressings for me. RUINED it I tell you. I realized that while I thought I was being so healthy, I was really filling my body with yucky, toxic ingredients. Why our family stopped buying store-bought salad dressings. Let’s look at this popular dressing, it’s hard to see in the picture, but the ingredients are: vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (milk, soy) less than 1% of: spices, dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA as preservatives disodium insonate, disodium guanylate.

The ingredients I highlighted are ingredients that are NOT real food ingredients.  Most of them are most likely genetically modified, and there’s just nothing healthy about this.  This is also a very similar picture of most salad dressings, regardless of flavor, even those from the “more natural” brands will still contain soybean oil or canola oil.

Why our family stopped buying store-bought salad dressings.Photo Credit: JeepersMedia via Compfight cc

The oil

I have yet to find a store-bought dressing that does not contain soybean or canola oil.  These are two oils we try to avoid at all costs.  Soy and canola are in nearly every processed food, are genetically modified, and there are a lot of studies that suggest soy messes with our endocrine system. (When you start to look at ingredients and realize how much soy we are actually consuming – that’s a scary thought. As a person with Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune thyroid disease, I can’t ignore the research that points to excessive consumption of soy being a possible contributing factor in my developing the disease. There is also research that suggests soy affects fertility.)

Both soy and canola are pretty flavorless (canola often has deodorizers added to hide the rancidity), cheap to produce, and they don’t harden when refrigerated.  These are probably the main reasons they are so commonly found in salad dressings. I have tried making homemade salad dressings with olive oil and coconut oil and they do impart more of a flavor and they do harden when refrigerated which makes it difficult to apply to a salad without setting it out for awhile first.

So what do we do?

You have several options.  You could buy from a brand that you trust and know doesn’t use genetically modified ingredients, and just accept that you will be eating soybean or canola oil.  Or you can make your own salad dressing. I know that sounds intimidating, but it is SO SIMPLE. Stay tuned, next week I will be sharing some real food salad dressing recipes that literally take seconds/minutes to make, store easily, and taste delicious. We can all feel good about eating our salads once again!

Update! Check out these dressings in the series:

What kind of salad dressing recipes would you like to see featured?

For further reading: