How to make baby nose-wiping…fun?

  Scott's come up with a way to make the inevitable snotty nose-wipe tolerable for his baby:

My ten-month-old daughter has a terrible cold right now, and she has developed a fear of the nose wipe. Anytime she sees me coming towards her with a rag or a kleenex, she turns her head away and hides – usually by rubbing her hands over her nose, spreading around everything I was about to wipe up.

The trick I've discovered is that if I throw the rag over her face, like we're playing peek-a-boo, then I can quickly "pat" around her nose and mouth, and she still thinks it's a game.

If I try to wipe, she figures it out, so the "pat" technique is important!

Does anyone else have a tried-and-true nose wiping technique to share?

More: Best of Parent Hacks: Cold and flu season tips


  1. anonymous says

    I can’t say I’m exactly proud of this, but I’ve found that if I first make a big deal over how gross a booger I’m going to get and then let my little one look at the contents of my wipe afterwards and make a big deal of exclaiming “Yuck! Gross!” she is a little more tolerant because it’s funny. It’s only worth it because of the amount of wiping we do over here and the extent to which she hates it.

  2. says

    My husband attacks him with the tissue and goes, “Meow! Meow!” It distracts him just long enough to forget he’s being wiped (and cracks me up every time).

  3. says

    I agree with the humor/gross approach. I use that a lot to turn unhappy diaper changes around.

    I’ve also started to let my 16 month old blow his own nose. He runs and gets the kleenex, holds it to his nose and makes blowing sounds with his mouth. Half the time he actually gets it. The other half, I say “good job, let me see” and I finish the job.

  4. Kate says

    Yup, we talk about what we’re wiping. If I say, “I need to wipe your mouth,” he’ll be running in no time. If I say, “Wow, you have a lot of pasta on your face!”, he’ll be interested in the process and want to see the washcloth when I’m done.

    Same thing with snot…the bigger deal I make about it, the more fun it is. Bleah… :(-

  5. says

    What works more times than not is to wipe my nose first and show him how much I enjoy it. He wants to copy us, so then he wants me to do it to him.

    I’d say this is 90% effective.

  6. Rachel says

    I sing to my son constantly and dance around like a crazy person. I find that it calms even the most intense tantrums. Silly songs distract him long enough to get through the whole saline drops, pumping and wiping ritual. (One of our favorites is “Jackopotomus has many friends” to the tune of “Father Abraham has many Sons”). Also if he has something to busy his hands (especially if he’s on the change table and is fussy) that helps as well.

  7. Sandy says

    We started early with making a huge deal out of dirty noses and showing him the boogers; did the same while cleaning his ears. We never did actually grab his nose but usually wiped his upper lip gently as he constantly had a runny nose from 3 months until about 18 mo. We used dried out cloth wipes in his diaper bag and cloth diapers or soft cloths around the house. He is now 3 1/2 years and goes to grab the Kleenex himself or brings it to us to help him clean up when he feels a runny nose. He is also really picky that he has to have his crusty nose cleaned in the shower. Make it fun about getting dirty stuff out and showing it to them so they understand, and it may help with the process. I know that day care teachers try to distract kids by telling them stories and getting them to laugh, and then just gently cleaning the nose for the difficult kids.

  8. Anonymous says

    I’ve used two techniques. If I’m in a hurry (and can get to it quickly) I will tell him and show him.

    However, if it’s dried on or going to take a while, I’ll suggest that we do an “ABC wipe.” We’ll start singing the alphabet while I put the wipe on his nose. I let it sit there and dissolve (bleh!) the dried snot while we sing. Every time we get to the end of a section (G, P, S, V, X, Z) I will do a big wipe, then replace the tissue for the next section. He knows what’s coming and that it has a definite end so he’s much more patient.

  9. Amy Michelle says

    Like Scott above we show her how wiping our own noses is fun. But we also make silly noises while we’re wiping our nose and the same noise while wiping hers. It makes it even more effective.

  10. says

    Boogers are one thing hubby doesn’t like to deal with and I can’t blame him, but I suck it up (no pun intended) and I AM the Booger Patrol! I can’t stand for my son to have dried crusties. Sometimes I’ve found moist baby wipes work and yep, you might have to work it a little to get the dried stuff to dissolve. My son and I both think it’s funny the way I say boooooogies!! and it makes it a little less traumatic for him. He is also starting to get the tissues and wipe his own nose now and copy us. In fact, he has become a pick pocket because he will sneak up on hubby and pull his hankie (yes, gross, I agree) out of his pocket and run off with it and it will be a while till he notices it’s gone! It’s gross and funny. Ok, this is really sick, but I’m going to be brave and admit it. Sometimes I intentionally let my little pinkie nail grow out a little longer just so I can pick my son’s nose! Do I need therapy or what? I can’t believe the lengths I will go to to be The Booger Patrol! Anyone else do this? Please tell me.

  11. TaMi says

    By trials and errors I discovered this one with my first child and refined it with the second. First, I evaluate whether the booger be dry, wet, or sticky. If it’s dry, I go for the Baby SIMPLY SALINE spray. Wet? Use the “sucker”. And, finally baby cotton swabs. They are wonderful for last minute cleanup on all! Just give a twisting action and done! The dry cotton seems to catch the mucus and the twisting actually pulls it away. Note: I like to use the baby cotton swab for safety reasons.
    It’s made with extra cotton at midway like a bulb so it stops at a safe distance into nostil (or, intended ear canal.)

  12. says

    When our girls were toddlers we told the girls that blowing a BIG blow into a tissue would summon elephants to our house.

    The bigger the blow, the more likely an elephant was going to arrive. Quiet blows didn’t work.

    When they blew, one of us would secretly knock on the floor, or a piece of furniture (whatever is closest) and pretend it was an elephant knocking on the door wanting to get in… at which point we’d shriek, NO NO DON’T CALL THE ELEPHANTS which inevitably lead to another session of nose blowing.

    My youngest (she’s 6.5) still does it. :)

  13. Rebecca says

    Nosefrida is the only thing that works for us. I don’t even have to wipe much because it keeps my toddler clear for hours. Also, even though she is now able to blow her own nose pretty well, my doctor explained that using a “nosehose” like NOsefrida is better because it doesn’t push the mucus up into the sinuses or into the eartubes. I think that theory works, she has never had ear infections.

  14. Vicki says

    I “honk” my daughter’s nose with the tissue (just a little squeeze) to take care of a runny nose. She thinks its really funny.

  15. hedra says

    I learned (the hard way) that making it seem like I’m coming and ‘stealing’ their boogers was a bad plan. With the twins, I started out with saying ‘I’m *saving you* from the booger!’ (or rescuing, etc.). Basically made it sound like they were being helped, not cornered, snuck up on, etc.

    They were noted for actually coming TO the teachers in preschool for a nose wipe.

    We also use the gross methods – because most kids like gross, even if the don’t like gross. (Okay, oldest doesn’t go for that, nothing would have helped, for him.)

  16. MJ says

    Mr. Washcloth works pretty well. I use those soft baby washcloths from when he was little (the cheap microfiber ones that come in a pack of 6 are really soft) and just head on in. “Here comes Mr. Washcloth! He’s going to get your nose!” “Gotcha!”

    But if he sees one of us blowing our nose he’ll grab a Kleenex and imitate us. I just never thought of using it to get him to wipe his own nose! Brilliant! I’ll try that next time.

  17. says

    My 14 month old loves copying us. I hold the kleenex up to his nose – NOT the way I would hold for myself, partially blocking the nostril – but just in front of his nose/above his lip, and snort at him really big a few times. He snorts back and voila! boogers appear.
    I also make sure to be in his presence whenever I blow my own nose.

    He took this to the next level by grabbing a kleenex one time, and a washcloth the next time, and blowing his own nose. Awesome!

    Unfortunately, the next time he tried it, he used a pancake. Sad but true.