A new school year has started and it’s time to talk about cold and flu season. If your large family is anything like mine, you know how easily (and unwantedly) germs can circulate throughout the entire household. We’ve already had to use one sick day for class, so further containment is essential. This post will provide ways to teach your child how to use a tissue.
Colds are no fun
While it’s true that colds are no fun, let’s discuss some of the facts. If you haven’t read last season’s post on childhood colds, start here. The thing about cold viruses is that they can lead to secondary infections. This includes bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia. Subsequently, this is why it’s so important to teach your sick child how to use a tissue. Since there is no cure for the common cold, you want to give their bodies the tools they need to fight these illnesses as quickly as possible. This lessens the chances of those secondary infections to invade.
Keep viruses from spreading to others. Wash your hands often.
It can be a lot to teach a young child how to correctly blow their nose without wiping snot all over the place. Heck, even at this stage, we’ve just got the hang of potty training. But trust me, you’ll be happy when your couch isn’t full of boogers after an unexpected sneeze. In fact, if your child has a cold or flu, you can dramatically reduce the risk of it spreading through proper tissue usage.
Having a sanctuary mindset will make it easier to keep the house clean during a cold.
Types of tissues
When you begin teaching your child how to use a tissue, do them a favor. Have a large supply of extra plush tissues. Please do not skimp out and purchase 1 ply, see-through facial tissues. Your child’s boogers will soak right through.
Another consideration would be the tissues with added lotion. They are the softest and most gentle, in my opinion.
Steps of teaching a child how to use a tissue
With a little practice, your child will become more effective. Give them the chance to try it on their own and encourage handwashing after every time.
1. Have the tissues handy
Explain to your child when they should use a tissue. This includes when they feel the urge to sneeze or cough, and when they need to clear their nasal passages. If they feel a sneeze coming on, they should grab a Kleenex as quickly as possible and prevent the mucus from becoming airborne. It’s a lot easier done than said. My children are 3, 6, and 7 and it takes a lot of grace and repetition to remind them to catch the germs.
2. Wipe without spreading
When it comes to wiping in general, children need a lot of practice to become good at it. One suggestion is to provide a plate with a smear of peanut butter and instruct your child to clean it thoroughly with a paper towel. Another is to apply glitter to your table and letting your visual learner examine how it sticks and spreads. Whichever method captures your child’s interest is fine. Do your best to have patience as they increase their skills in this department.
3. Fold and discard
After your child blows their nose, they should fold and discard the tissue. Folding the tissue traps the mucus inside and prevents it from oozing out. This is a good method to contain the germs and not spread sickness to others.
4. Wash hands
Lastly, your child needs to wash their hands. When teaching your child how to use a tissue remember to also teach them how to cleanse.
Help your child learn to blow their nose into a tissue
At 2 years old, you can start teaching your child how to properly blow their nose. By age 3, most children will prefer to blow their nose without assistance. This is because their noses become sensitive after a couple of days of having a cold. Older toddlers usually want to control how the tissue touches their face, as opposed to just running away like they did when they were younger.
Finally, as you and your child work together to learn these important life skills remember to allow some room for error. This may sound counterintuitive but in the end, they will get better and better. Let me know about your family’s experiences. Please leave a comment below.