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Use the Pinch-Release Method to Teach Your Toddler to Blow Their Nose

Is it a cold or COVID? (The question every mom has asked at least once this winter, le sigh.) But regardless of the answer, there’s still a problem all parents of little kids face: How do you teach them to blow their nose?

Let’s think for a second about the mechanics of a productive nostril-clearing effort. Basically, the goal is to instruct your toddler to redirect the air flow so that it comes out instead of in. But what if they can’t grasp that concept?

Enter the pinch-and-release method. With a tissue in hand to cover their nose and collect any snot, gently pinch your child’s nostrils on and off rapidly as they attempt to blow. If your child isn’t understanding the air flow part of this, the nose pinching gives them a physical reminder of where the wind should be coming out. (I tested this method on my three-year-old and it was a total success.)

Still struggling? We also asked Dr. Dyan Hes, Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics, for a pediatrician-approved idea. She said the number one mistake parents make when teaching a kid to blow their nose is forgetting to tell them to close their mouth. Her advice: Start by telling your child to close their lips together tight, then get a tissue and tell them to make wind out of their nose to blow the tissue. When the tissue moves, they are blowing their nose.