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Teaching children to blow their noses  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:not specified
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:not specified
TAP skill:not specified
TAP level:not specified
Phonology/Articulation:Speech sounds
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Many children with speech and language difficulties have a tendency to have blocked or runny noses. This can impact on the clarity of their speech making it difficult to understand what the child is saying. If the child’s nose is runny, it can make them look unpleasant and make other people less likely to talk to the child. Sometimes a blocked nose can be associated with ‘blocked ears’, making it difficult to hear. In this case blowing the nose can help unblock the ears (temporarily) and therefore help hearing.

Useful resources:

  • Pictures of faces for colouring
  • Pens/crayons etc
  • Face paints
  • Bubbles
  • Tissues
  • Feathers
  • Cotton wool
  • Drinking straws
  • Container for water
  • Water
  • Food dye to colour water
  • Candles and candle holder, matches
  • Toy birthday cake with candles (Early Learning Centre)
  • Card and lolly sticks/tongue depressors to make ‘shelves’
  • Star chart/stickers

What to do:

  1. Check the child knows where their nose is. E.g. pointing, colouring pictures, face paints etc.;
  2. Work on the idea of blowing – blow bubbles, blow bits of tissue/ feathers/cotton wool etc across the table, blow bubbles in water with a straw, blow out candles/use the toy birthday cake with plastic candles. You may need to demonstrate for the child
  3. Work on blowing out through the nose – hold bits of tissue/ feathers/cotton wool on your fingertips just under the child’s nose and get them to blow it off, you could try getting the child to blow bubbles and blow out candles using their nose. You will need to do this on a day when the child’s nose isn’t blocked. Again demonstrate if necessary;
  4. If the child has difficulty only blowing out through their nose and not their mouth, try making a device with 2 shelves – 1 by the child’s mouth and the other by their nose. Put a bit of tissue on each shelf, and encourage the child to blow the tissue off the upper shelf, without blowing it off the lower one. Some children might need to look in a mirror for this;
  5. Make sure you have lots of tissues available. Demonstrate how to blow your nose. Encourage the child to blow their nose when appropriate;
  6. Encourage the child to ensure they have a tissue with them, for example in their pocket. Some children will need reminders to put their used tissues in the bin! Remind the child to blow their nose when necessary. Praise them for doing it spontaneously. Some children may need a star chart for some or all parts of this process. The child should always have access to tissues – try to make sure every classroom and any other areas used by the children (e.g. group rooms) have a box of tissues available.


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