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Practical Life for the Winter -- Toddler Nose Blowing

Winter is in full swing here in Minnesota. And, sadly, it will be for the next couple of months. With winter comes an endless stream of coughing, snotty noses and other bugs. It's especially bad this year with Henry in school full time. I don't think we have made it a week without one of the children having a runny nose.


So, I thought I would share one of those practical life activities necessary for any parent of toddlers -- nose blowing! Even Maria Montessori discovered the importance of this seemingly simple task. In the Secret of Childhood, she described how intensely grateful the children in her first class were to learn how to blow their own noses. She said:

"But no one really teaches them how they should blow their noses. When I tried to do so, they...indicated that I had not only treated them with justice but had enabled them to get a new standing in society…I have come to appreciate the fact that children have a deep sense of personal dignity."  

Like with most practical life work, before we can show a child, we must prepare the environment. In our home, this means having tissues available to my children at their level. I want to make it as easy as possible for Nora to get a tissue and use it on her own. I find that keeping a box in her centrally located kitchen area has worked great. She also has a mirror near by and access to the garbage can.


Practically, I'm sure there is a bunch of different ways to teach a child to blow their own nose. We use the "pinch and pull" method, which I learned about in a Montessori group. Basically, instead of trying to get a toddler to actually blow, which is a hard thing to do, you teach them to pinch their nostrils and pull away from their face. To present I --

1. Slowly pick one tissue from the box and bring to my face. 
2. Slowly and deliberately pinch my nostrils.
3. With my fingers still pinched together, pull slowly down and away from my face. 

Once I demonstrate on myself, then I ask Nora if I can wipe her nose. Then, I go through the motions with her. These first few times, I do not talk or give language, but just focus on the motions. Then, I end by inviting her to try on her own. Once the child has a good grasp, then you could add the language of pinch and pull into the equation.


Overtime, Nora has gotten very good at the pinch/pull method and can keep herself reasonably clean. Its a big help, and I know she loves being able to independently take care of her needs! It's the perfect practical, practical life that a toddler craves.



Have you taught your toddler to wipe their nose? Did you use this method or something else? 


12 {More} Months of Montessori

This post was brought to you as part of the 12 Months of Montessori series! I'm happy to continue this series this year! Our theme this month is winter. Don't miss these great blogs for Montessori and Montessori-inspired winter posts. 


Montessori Inspired Antarctica Shelf  | The Pinay Homeschooler
Indoor Snowball Fight | Grace and Green Pastures
Winter Books for Preschoolers | Christian Montessori Network
Winter Yoga for Kids | Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Hands on arctic themed activities| Welcome to Mommyhood

Comments

Unknown said…
Thank you for this. I was going crazy on how to teach her.
Unknown said…
We taught our son the same way! :) It's a wonderful phase when they learn to do this on their own!
kimberly said…
This is so sweet and as a mom and former preschool teacher I can really appreciate this :) Yay!
Unknown said…
Ah! Nora is getting so big! What a great and practical activity.
I love the pinch and pull method! It's so practical for little ones. Thank you for the reminder to keep tissues where they can reach them.
I'm glad you wrote about this! I was telling my son to blow and he never got that figured out. I am going to use this pinch and pull method!
Jae said…
Brilliant idea!! I love how you go beyond the usual activities and apply the philosophies in just about anything. Thank you for sharing!

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