The habits your child develops even as a toddler can impact their futures more than you’d think—especially important health habits! Nose picking, thumb sucking, and failing to cover germ-spreading sneezes and coughs are a few habits that you can start focusing on helping your toddler to quit.
Getting rid of those annoying “boogies” is a temptation for all ages, but especially for those tiny tikes who haven’t yet learned what “gross” even means. But dropping the nose-picking habit is more than a matter of etiquette! This little habit can, if done too aggressively and with significant frequency, cause small cuts and scratches on the nasal cavity that may cause excessive dryness and infection. Plus, those little fingers may be carrying bacteria, dust, and viruses straight into their noses! MomTrends recommends you keep your child healthy and safe by reminding them to keep their fingers out of their noses consistently until that positive reinforcement sticks in their minds!
Babies are naturally inclined to suck on things, and many find that their thumbs are an easy thing to suck on all the time! This makes them feel secure, but if they continue that habit beyond infancy, it becomes a detrimental habit that impacts your child’s development. For one, Maccaro Pediatric Dentistry says thumb sucking at a later age can cause problems for how teeth grow. As the pressure from thumb sucking pushes on the backs of your child’s teeth, those teeth will start to grow outward and can shift in the jaw. Additionally, allowing thumb sucking to continue turns that habit into a subconscious mechanism for coping with stress. This is an unhealthy coping, especially the older that your child gets. Use positive reinforcements to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumbs, and they will naturally develop healthier ways to find security.
Not Covering Their Sneezes and Coughs
As a matter of public health safety and etiquette, teach your child early the importance of covering their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough. Again, positive reinforcement is your best bet for fostering this as a natural response. TeachWithMe recommends you remind them to sneeze and cough into their inner elbow or, if they do so into their hand, to wash their hands immediately!
Start today with practicing positive reinforcement, and create a productive means of preventing bad habits from getting too far. Breaking these habits early will set your child up for a healthy, happy development that you and they will be grateful for!
Read this next: How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables