Bless You! Please Pass The Tissue!
At the age of four years old children are in the phase of what we call busy little bees. They become very much enthused during play time and they don’t want to stop no matter what, like when they have to go potty or how much their nose is running. Playing is fun! When your child is focused on play, she barely gives a thought to her body. By molding self-help skills you can help your child gain independence while staying clean and healthy as she keeps the germs away.
Your child watches each move you make. She imitates things she sees from you and from others. When you answer the phone and are polite with the caller on the other line, she mimics the same conversations when she is playing her toy phone as she pulls it out of her toy purse. When you are sneezing or blowing your nose she is watching as you get a tissue, wipe your nose and throw the tissue in the garbage. As a parent you can help your child learn by teaching the steps on proper care for her body, especially her nose.
First of all, explain to your child that her nose has many germs inside it. When she sneezes or when she has a runny nose the germs escape. The first thing she needs to do is to get a tissue and wipe her nose. Some children can feel challenged with sensory issues as they might not know that they need a tissue because they don’t “feel” the mess on their nose. If your child falls into this category she will need gentle reminders to grab a tissue. Next, make sure that the tissue box is within your child’s reach and is easily accessible. Demonstrate to her on how to place the tissue in her hand and wipe her nose gently. Show her the proper way to fold the tissue over so the “wet” area is placed on the inside. Explain the value of properly disposing the tissue into a trash bin or garbage can. Finally, remind her of the significance of the final step of washing her hands with soap after touching her nose. Staying clean makes for a healthy child.
If your child resists wiping her nose there are a few tips you can use to excite her about taking on this dirty job. When using a cardboard tissue box bought from the store you can wrap the outside of the box in plain colored or wrapping paper and make the box more enticing for your four year old. If you use plain paper she can decorate the box with her favorite designs. You can even buy a decorative child friendly tissue holder which you can use to store tissues within your child’s level. When my daughter was four years old, I found a decorative box in bright bold colors designed with beautiful flowers all over. She moved the box around each day to look at the different floral designs. To her, it was “fun” to grab a tissue! In fact, oftentimes I don’t think she really needed to get a tissue but she sure thought she did!