Three things I know to be true:
1. Snotty noses are gross.
2. Snotty noses must be wiped.
3. Babies hate having their snotty noses wiped and will fight to the death to avoid having it done to them.
While I don’t know we will ever be able to eliminate the unpleasantness associated with wiping a baby’s sticky, snotty nose, there are a few things we can do to make it less of a battle.
1. No surprise attacks! You can slowly and calmly say something like, “We’re going to wipe on three: 1, 2, 3, wipe.” This predictability can be important and helpful for older babies and toddlers who are able to understand the sequence of events. It can even be helpful to show them a picture or icon of a little one getting their nose wiped, so they have a visual of what’s coming next. If they’re willing and able, you can even place the tissue in their own little hand and help them wipe it themselves so they remain in control (kids can usually assist pretty well with nose wiping close to their 2nd birthday). Predictability is key here, though in some cases a gentle warning may create anxiety, so test it out and make adjustments accordingly.
2. Provide some deep touch pressure on the child’s face when wiping, rather than lightly wiping. The body tends to be less defensive to deep touch than it is to light touch, so this can be helpful in providing input to the body that provides a calm and secure message to the brain rather than an alerting and startling one.
3. Make the tissue smaller. How would you feel if a giant cloth descended on your face every time you had a stuffy nose? You’d freak out, right? So do kids. Try folding the tissue to a smaller size so you have just the amount you need and you won’t needlessly scare the little snot monster in front of you. As a bonus, this now-thicker cloth will likely keep that nasty mucus from seeping through the thin tissue, so it’s a win-win!
To see a video demonstration of these tips in action, click here.
Take care of those runny noses, and happy wiping!
Photo credit for image.