As flu season is upon us….oh wait, it’s a toddler. Flu season is ALWAYS upon us (are they ever NOT sick?), you will need to know how to teach toddlers to blow their nose.
You and I both know that the immediate relief just after blowing your nose is incredible. Sure, it doesn’t last long, but the relief is awesome. A clear nose! 3, 2, 1 blocked again.
We know how to blow our noses; it is pretty easy. A toddler may not know how to blow their nose, though it is your job to teach them.
Why does a Toddlers’ nose get blocked?
The same reason ours get blocked.
Our bodies are fantastic machines, and our immune system is right up there near the top of the list!
When we get a cold or the flu, our bodies pick up the invasion. The first task is to shut down the entry for another virus to attack while it deals with making us better again. Our immune systems work on closing up the entry points:
Our throat begins to swell, making it sore and dry. Our throats swell to block our mouths from taking in another virus.
Classic entry for a virus, and it is probably at fault for letting this one in! Our immune systems swell up our airways to make sure no more dastardly virus gets past. That involved swelling the sinus tubes and blocking our nose. Nice!
Basically, we get a virus, and our bodies go all defensive. It is worth talking about temperatures here too.
After shutting down the entry points for a virus, our immune system sets upon the flu virus with tremendous ferocity. It does this by cranking up the heat in our bodies, making it a furnace, and savagely bakes the virus until it wishes it was never born.
Ok, it is worth mentioning here that you really need an awesome digital ear thermometer! Along with plasters, they are the lynchpins of a world-class 1st aid kit! Be sure to get your toddler’s base temperature, so you know when it begins to get high.
Enough already. How do you teach a Toddler to blow their nose?
Everything I teach my son is approached by me in a very methodical way. When I taught him to blow his nose (when he was 3), I followed the same principle.
It is a challenge, as are most things you have to teach a toddler. Like everything in life, the more they practice, the easier it is!
You may not agree with some of these steps, but it is exactly what I did to teach my toddler to blow his nose.
1. Holding the tissue
First things first, your toddler will need to know how to position the tissue.
As you are more than aware, the Flu virus is transmitted to other people very easily. You must catch it in the tissue and throw it away to ensure it doesn’t get to you.
It probably will, by the way, but you can only do your best to TRY and stop it!
You know where the tissue goes, so get them to copy you. Concentrate on how they are holding the tissue. It must be a sturdy grip.
2. Practice the force
I am not going to get all ‘Star Wars’ on you here. I do not mean you have to blindfold your toddler to get them to ‘feel when you need to blow your nose.’
The most important thing about blowing your nose is the force you put behind it. If there is no force, it is simply not going to clear the airways.
Ask your toddler to take a big breath, put their lips together (like they are whistling), and push the air out as fast as possible. Try that a few times.
Once they get the hang of it, you explain that the air needs to come out of their nose that fast. This exercise is purely to understand that the air needs to leave quickly for it to work.
3. Work on the nostrils
When I blow my nose, I tend to widen my nostrils. It helps with the ‘evac’!
Remember, your toddler is still young and might not have the ability to widen their nostrils yet. It takes practice. Now is a great time to begin.
Explain to your toddler that the bigger they can make their nostrils, the better it will be.
4. Get the head movements right – think chicken!
Head movement is important when your toddler is learning to blow their nose. Purely because it adds to the force.
Talk them through the following exercise:
- Bring their head back while taking a big breath in.
- Move their head forward whilst forcing the air out of pursed lips.
It is a simple exercise, and as soon as they get the hang of it, the time has come to work on the nose!
5. Move onto the nose
Now it is time to get the air expelled from their nose.
Begin this task with a few breaths in through their mouth and out through their nose.
Obviously, if they are full of the Flu, this one might be a challenge! Having said that, if they are full of the Flu, they will need to force more to get the air out, which is already good practice.
Talk them through, taking a deep breath, and hold it. Then expel the air in short bursts through their nose.
You can always count the breaths as they do it. Please don’t waste the opportunity to teach them to count!
6. Put it all together
It is time now to put the whole thing together!
Here is a checklist:
- Hold the tissue for them (they can cover this when you are confident)
- Get them to take a big breath (moving their head back) in and hold it
- Tell them you will count down from 3 to 1, and when you get to 1, they need to give short bursts of air through their nose. Remind them to move their head forward while they do it.
- Have a few practice runs.
- Make them count!
When you are both confident, pass them the tissue and let them get on with it.
7. Have a backup plan
Snot Sucker –
Nasal Aspirators are extremely useful, especially at night when they do not have the energy to blow their own nose.
There are many different types of Nasal Aspirators, but they all serve a purpose, and at least one of them should be in your first aid kit.
All you need to do is set up your oil diffuser with water and a few drops of Olbas Oil and let the magic happen. Try to keep it out of their way because we all know what toddlers are like with something new.
These are mostly used for distraction while you try to get them to sleep.
If you have a top night light projector to concentrate on, they are more likely to drift off to sleep easier. We all know that sleep is the best medicine for battling a cold or the flu.
Having a child with a cold can be a challenging time. Know you are prepared and know how to teach a toddler to blow their nose. Things will be a little bit easier!
When your toddler is sick, you just need to apply attention and a motherload of patience.
Always keep an eye on their temperature to make sure it is not getting too high, make them comfortable, and try your best to get them to sleep as often as you can.
Good luck! You are going to need it……